These are just some of the ways critics are describing A new law in Texas that allows people to carry handguns without a permit was approved by Republicans, which local officials say has already led to an increase in spontaneous shootings in densely populated parts of the state.
In one high-profile case earlier this year, Tony Earls “pulled out his gun and opened fire, hoping to hit a man who had just robbed him and his wife from an ATM in Houston,” The New York Times reported Wednesday. “Instead, he hit Arlene Alvarez, a 9-year-old girl in a passing pickup truck, killing her.”
A grand jury declined to indict Earls, agreeing with his attorney that “everything about that situation, we believe and assert, was justified under Texas law.”
As the Times notes, “The shootings were part of what sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys in Texas urban counties said had been a year-long increase in gun ownership and shootings. the state began allowing most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without a license.”
“Far from standing still, Texas, with its new law, has joined a growing effort to eliminate nearly all restrictions on handguns,” the paper continued. “When Alabama’s carry law goes into effect in January, half the states across the country, from Maine to Arizona, will not require a handgun license.”
“But Texas is the most populous state to eliminate handgun permit requirements,” the Times noted. “Five of the nation’s 15 largest cities are located in Texas, making gun laxity a new fact of life in urban areas to a degree not seen in other states.”
“Drunken disputes turned into shootings in the border town of Eagle Pass,” the newspaper writes. “In El Paso, revelers who legally bring their guns to parties have opened fire to stop fights. Prosecutors in and around Houston are receiving a growing influx of cases involving gunfire or shootings in parking lots, impaired driving, loud music and love. triangles”.
Police say Texas’ new illegal carry law is leading to more spontaneous shootings. “Now that everybody can carry a gun, we’ve got people drinking and starting to shoot each other … instead of getting their hands on their fists, they’re getting their guns,” Sheriff. said: https://t.co/SSYSziIfsd
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) October 27, 2022
“Who would have predicted that arming people without a license would lead to this kind of chaos?” columnist Wajahat Ali asked sarcastically on social media.
Another person on Twitter“This is the future the GOP wants for all of America. Vote accordingly.”
Americans are more likely to die early if they live in states dominated by right-wing lawmakers, and lax gun safety measures are among the factors driving statewide death rates, an expert study released Wednesday found.
Data on statewide shootings have not been released since the law passed by Texas Republicans last spring took effect last September, but many law enforcement officials say the availability of guns on the street has increased while applications for handgun permits have decreased.
“There seems to be a tipping point now that everybody is armed,” said Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Harris County, which includes Houston.
As the Times writes: “The recent debate over gun laws in Texas has not been limited to gun licensing. After the Uvalde elementary school shooting, gun control advocates sought to raise the age to purchase an AR-15 rifle. And then. that [United States] While the Supreme Court struck down New York’s restrictive licensing program, a federal court in Texas found that a state law barring adults under 21 from carrying handguns was unconstitutional. [Republican] Gov. Greg Abbott suggested he agreed, even as the Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees state police, is appealing.”
Meanwhile, the Texas GOP’s attack on gun control is just part of a “state legislative push” that “has coincided with a federal judiciary that has increasingly ruled in favor of carrying guns and against state regulation.” efforts.” the Times reported.
by their decision in June New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, The conservative Supreme Court justices, most of whom were appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote, struck down New York state’s restrictions on the concealed carry of firearms in public. In the process, argues journalist Mark Joseph Stern, they have expanded the scope of the Second Amendment and made it more difficult for US voters to protect communities “by enacting gun safety laws through the democratic process.”
Calling it a “revolution in Second Amendment law,” Stern wrote that “the Supreme Court effectively struck down gun restrictions as unconstitutional.”
Before the ruling, reporter Jay Michaelson in Rolling Stone highlighted the right’s “absurd misreading of the Second Amendment, largely funded by gun manufacturers.” essay
“Contrary to what you might believe, until 2008 no federal court had ruled that the Second Amendment granted a right to own a gun. On the contrary, the Supreme Court clearly stated that it is not. […] And what was once a fringe view rejected by the Supreme Court, that the Second Amendment gave individuals the right to bear arms, gradually became the gospel of the Republican Party as the fringes took over the party. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger (a conservative appointed by Richard Nixon) called it “a fraud on the American public.”
Years before making it easier to carry guns in public, Texas Republicans made their state one of 29 nationwide with so-called stand your ground laws. These laws, also known as “shoot first” laws, change the common law principle of the “duty to retreat,” which allows individuals to use deadly force in perceived self-defense as a first, not a last resort.
A study released earlier this year found that “shoot first” laws are linked to hundreds of additional gun homicides each year.
While Texas was one of the few states where the adoption of shoot-first laws did not result in a significant change in gun homicide rates between 2000 and 2016, it remains to be seen whether the new illegal carry law will cause an increase in violence. Clashes of armed parties claiming “self-defense”.
Last week in Florida, which became the first state to pass a “shoot first” law in 2005, a man and his teenage son were arrested for attempted murder after allegedly shooting a woman they suspected of being a burglar.
There are more guns than people in the US, and with Republicans funded by the National Rifle Association opposing meaningful gun safety laws, it remains relatively easy for people in many states to buy and carry firearms.
As a result, there have been thousands of mass shootings since 2012, and guns have recently become the leading cause of death for children and teenagers in the United States.
Studies have shown that gun regulations with high levels of public support, including bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazineshelps reduce the number and severity of fatal mass shootings.
“We don’t have to live like this,” Erin Preece, a mother, teacher and Democratic candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives, said after Monday’s deadly shooting at a St. Louis school. “Vote for lawmakers who will stand up to the gun lobby. Our children’s lives depend on it.”