Texas, Ohio, Georgia Enjoy Well-Regulated Gun Violence Weekend
Friday night, there was another mass shooting. This time it was in Austin, Texas, and 14 innocent bystanders were injured. No one died, so that's something. No apparent motive has yet been identified for the “isolated incident" between two assholes with guns. Shockingly, random civilians with guns didn't improve the situation, either, despite Texas's absurdly lax gun laws. Last month, the GOP-dominated Texas legislature passed a measure allowing people to carry a handgun without a license, background check or training. Texas has higher standards for who's permitted to smoke a brisket.
If GOP Governor Greg Abbott signs the dumbass measure, which he's said he will, it won't go into effect until September. Maybe the latest senseless act of gun violence will cause him to reconsider?
Nope, just more thoughts and prayers. Maybe Abbott might do something if guns were responsible for as many deaths as critical race theory.
This wasn't the weekend's only mass shooting. Chicago, Cleveland, and Savannah, Georgia, also had bloodbaths over the course of six hours on Friday evening through early Saturday morning. The gun spree left 39 people wounded and five dead.
From ABC News:
"It's very disturbing what we're seeing across the country and the level of gun violence that we're seeing across the country. It's disturbing and it's senseless," Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter, Jr. said at a weekend news conference after one person was killed and eight others, including an 18-month-old baby and two teenagers, were wounded.
Georgia's GOP-controlled legislature is also working to pass legislation that would remove open and concealed carry restrictions for gun owners. There are no recorded deaths from mail-in ballots, but Republicans have curious priorities about which constitutional rights they defend.
Austin's Democratic Mayor Steve Adler commented on “the uptick in gun violence locally," which he said was “part of a disturbing rise in gun violence across the country" as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. He tweeted:
"APD and the City Council have initiated multiple violence prevention efforts in response but this crisis requires a broader, coordinated response from all levels of government.
One thing is clear — greater access to firearms does not equal greater public safety."
Adler's not just some crazy liberal speaking heresy about the sacred gun. Although gun ownership in Texas is well above the national average at an estimated at 35 to 43 percent, not all Texas gun owners are Yosemite Sam. A poll conducted six months after the 2019 El Paso massacre showed that 86 percent of Texans supported background checks for gun buyers, and 65 percent supported “red flag laws," which would remove guns from people a judge ruled a danger to themselves and others. Perhaps most shockingly, 55 percent of Texans supported a ban on the sale of assault weapons, and 44 percent were OK with a mandatory buyback program. This put a new spin on the Texas motto, “Come and take it."
The same poll found that 54 percent of Texans believed their elected officials didn't do enough to prevent gun violence. These really aren't the results you'd expect, given the gun legislation that passed after El Paso and another mass shooting in West Texas the same year. They all eased restrictions on guns, allowing them to be carried during natural disasters, in rented and leased property, and in places of worship — because you never know when an angel might try to mug you.
After 16 people were killed in a hot air balloon in Texas, Ted Cruz authored and passed legislation requiring opera… https://t.co/uSxC68YNXs— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts)1621907979.0
The following bills were especially awful: HB 1143 lets licensed gun owners stores guns and ammunition in their vehicles in school parking lots, and school districts are prohibited from stopping them. HB 2363 permits certain foster homes to store guns and ammunition in a locked location. These are both “are you fucking kidding me?" laws.
After the March massacre in Boulder, Colorado, President Joe Biden promised action on gun violence. Ted Cruz, who has praised permitless carry laws, claimed that Democrats' “political objective" is to take away guns from law-abiding citizens.
Cruz's political objective obviously isn't listening to his gun-owning constituents, who support sensible gun safety measures. No, Cruz seems fine with just being a tool for the gun lobby in its quest to sell more weapons of death. The body count matters less than the bottom line, we guess.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."