One of the most heartbreaking moments collectively witnessed as a nation is the slaughter of innocent school children by a person with a gun. No doubt many families watched the events in Uvalde unfold and held their children just a little bit tighter as a result.
Yet it is the horrific Uvalde school shooting that has displayed the deep divisions in this country over gun regulation. According to polls, a majority people support some restrictions on guns and ammunition while some vocal gun enthusiasts say those restrictions will not prevent mass shootings or other acts of gun violence.
Did the 19 children and two teachers who were killed in Uvalde die because of the gun laws in Texas?
Read on to find out what these gun laws say and the changes proposed by some to help stop these tragedies from occurring.
Gun Laws in Texas
In September of 2021, a slew of new gun laws took effect in Texas. These laws effectively made the state a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” because they expanded access to guns across the state while dropping restrictions.
The new bills that took effect included:
This law is known as the constitutional carry or permitless carry law. It allows citizens in Texas to carry handguns without any sort of license – a license that once required a thorough background check and training.
This Act, known as the Second Amendment Sanctuary State Act, prohibits the enforcement of new federal gun laws by local governments or state agencies.
Under this bill, government entities cannot ban the transportation or sale of ammunition or firearms during a declared emergency or disaster.
Firearm suppressors have been made exempt by this law, as long as they are made in the state and stay there.
This allows someone with a license to carry holstered, visible handguns anywhere in a motor vehicle. Before, it had to be in a belt or shoulder holster.
Under this new law, some foster homes are allowed to store ammunition and guns together in a locked location instead of storing them separately.
Some first responders are now allowed to carry handguns under this law.
This law made those between the ages of 18 and 20 eligible for licenses to carry a handgun – only if they are under the protection of certain courts, due to domestic violence cases.
This law allows those who are guests in hotels to store and carry ammunition and firearms in their rooms.
This bill now prohibits governments from entering into contracts with businesses that discriminate against the industries connected to ammunition and firearms.
It is now a crime in Texas to lie on a background check for a firearm.
These new laws and others, have made Texas only one of five states that are considered Second Amendment Sanctuaries. However, under Texas law, anyone age 18 to 21 can buy a rifle or long gun, just not a handgun. The shooting that took place in Uvalde was committed with an AR-15, which was legally sold to the shooter only the week prior, along with 375 rounds of ammunition.
Keeping Kids Safe
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, guns are the leading killer of American children. Proponents of gun control measures in Texas have provided measures that they think can reduce violence – such as raising the minimum gun-buying age, universal background checks, and red flag laws.