Mass Shootings And The Texas Response
Twenty-nine people died as a result of two mass shootings in Texas last month. What is the response from Texans and their political representatives? Will these latest violent episodes move the needle on gun policy?
Many Texans are calling for action, even a legislative special session to address gun violence, while others worry about weakening gun rights. What action would you like to see taken? How have guns impacted your life?
On Aug. 3, a gunman targeting Mexican shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso killed 22 people. Another mass shooting claimed seven lives – eight including the gunman – less than a month later in Midland-Odessa.
Despite the violence, eight new gun laws easing restrictions on personal firearms in Texas went into effect Sept. 1. Two of them allow Texans to carry guns in places of worship and without a license during a state of disaster.
Four of the 12 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. happened in Texas – more than any other state. The 1966 shooting at the University of Texas at Austin claimed 14 lives. A shooting at a Killeen Luby’s in 1991 killed 23. Twenty-six people were fatally shot at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs in 2017. And most recently, El Paso.
How are El Paso residents dealing with the grief and loss of life while processing that their Latino community was deliberately targeted because of racism, bigotry and hatred? What’s happened in the weeks since this tragedy?
What has been the community response to mass gun violence in Midland-Odessa? How are these mass shootings impacting the lives of Texans?
Should Texas pass laws to close gun-purchase loopholes, make it more difficult to buy an assault rifle or implement red flag laws? Should Gov. Greg Abbott call a special session?
What's happening with gun policy on the national level? What role does the NRA play in policymaking or breaking?
What is driving these mass shootings? How do Texans weigh safety concern for themselves and their loved ones against Second Amendment rights for gun owners?
- U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, Texas 16th congressional district
- Jonathan Levinson, Guns & America reporting fellow
- David Chipman, senior policy advisory for The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and former ATF Special Agent
- Alex Samuels, political reporter for The Texas Tribune
- Mallory Falk, El Paso-based reporter for KERA
- Mitch Borden, Permian Basin reporter for Marfa Public Radio
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, September 16.