Texas Loosens Gun Laws after Shootings, Media Questions Why

“Hours after shooting rampage, Texas gun laws loosened”.

“New Texas laws loosening gun control draw outrage from advocates after Odessa shooting”.

“Texas Allows Guns in Churches, Schools After Firearm Access Laws Expanded”.

These are headlines recently published by major outlets. CBS, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal – mainstream media publications and journalists are crying foul of the Texas state legislature’s decision to loosen gun laws in the wake two shootings in Odessa on August 31, and in El Paso on August 4. Many of these publications question why, in the face of mass gun violence, any politician or agency would reduce the restrictions placed on guns.

Yet this very question illustrates why the mainstream media is ignorant to the concepts of public gun safety and Second Amendment rights. To illustrate, let’s dive into some of the new gun laws Texas just passed:

HB 1387 removes limitations on the number of faculty and staff that can be designated as armed school marshals per campus. Previously, just one marshal was allowed for every 200 students, or one per school. SB 535 clarifies that religious places of worship and other private properties must give notice to gun owners that firearms are banned on their premises. HB 1177 allows citizens to carry firearms without a license for one full week after a declared state of emergency. The law also instructs disaster shelters to accommodate gun owners. HB 302 prohibits landlords from banning tenants’ firearms in rental properties. SB 741 carries the prohibitions against home owners’ associations. HB 121 allows concealed-carry permit holders to leave a property that prohibits guns on the premises without legal action, if they promptly leave when asked.

The mainstream media like to claim that new, pro-2A laws like these only further increase the chances of gun violence. Journalists argue these laws show gun owners, Republican-controlled states, and Second Amendment advocates are desensitized to gun violence, that they don’t care about mass shootings. Yet these laws seek to bolster the public’s ability to respond to acts of gun violence. HB 1387 provides more protection for schools via trained and armed security, a natural deterrent to any threat. SB 535 and HB 121 provide greater regulation and written notice to concealed-carry permit holders, reducing the chances of altercations and armed trespassing incidents. HB 302 and SB 741 guarantee basic Second Amendment rights are protected for renting gun owners and homeowners who don’t wish to be homeless.

Anti-Gunners Don’t Get Why Restrictive Laws Aren’t Passed

Anti-gun advocates don’t seem to understand why more restrictive gun laws aren’t being passed in the wake of public shootings. A monstrously anti-Second Amendment bill, H. R. 7115, was introduced in Congress in November 2018. It was quickly shelved. The bill explicitly calls for:

“[prohibiting] the sale, acquisition, distribution in commerce, or import into the United States of certain firearm receiver castings or blanks, assault weapon parts kits, and machinegun parts kits and the marketing or advertising of such castings or blanks and kits on any medium of electronic communications, to require homemade firearms to have serial numbers, and for other purposes.”

This bill would effectively ban most AR-15 kits and gun-making parts, including the black rifle’s recently popularized 80 lower receiver. Why wasn’t it passed? The data show Americans don’t want more gun bans. A Gallup poll conducted in fall 2018 showed that just 40% of Americans favor a ban on assault weapons.

Americans See Gun Control as Ineffective (They’re Right)

Anecdotal evidence and surveys both show many Americans don’t support new gun control, like the assault weapons ban. The reason is quite simple, but it’s a tired statement that must be reiterated: Criminal really do not follow gun laws. The Department of Justice reported that of 290,000 criminals who were in illegal possession of a firearm, 6% stole the gun. Seven percent found the firearm at the scene of another crime, and a whopping 43% bought their firearms on the black market. Just 0.8% of criminals purchased their weapons at a gun show.

Another study led by Dr. Philip J. Cook of Duke University looked at the duration of the “last link – the elapsed time from the transaction that actually provided the offender with the gun in question”. The survey interviewed 221 felons in Chicago, convicted of firearm-related offenses. The results are quite clear: “More than two-thirds of the men obtained their primary gun within the last six months of their arrest (68%), while 19.3% possessed their gun for five or fewer days. Almost a quarter of respondents (22.6%) had never owned a gun six months before their current arrest. Of those who had, a majority acquired their primary gun—the one they possessed during their arrest—through a purchase or trade (54.3%) and from a friend or acquaintance (56.9%).”

More importantly: “Respondents were almost all barred from purchasing a gun from a gun store because of their prior criminal record—as a result, their guns were obtained by illegal transactions with friends, relatives, and the underground market.”

Indeed, extensive data does show that the gun control many politicians and anti-gunners advocate for would do little to quell gun violence. It is not an opinion that mass shootings shouldn’t be normalized. They aren’t normal. But what those opposed to gun rights fail to see is that restricting Americans’ access to guns won’t reduce violence. Those who carry out such acts will do so outside the law. The latest Texas shooter was legally barred from buying guns. He was judged to be mentally unfit for firearm ownership. Yet he carried out his shooting by illegally buying a gun “off the books”. At this time, no anti-gun advocate has come forth describing a single gun law which would have prevented this shooting.

Maybe Texas is right to give more law-abiding Americans greater access to the Second Amendment.

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