Unsecured firearms in the home can result in suicides, homicides, and unintentional shootings. Thousands of unsecured firearms are stolen in Texas each year and used in crimes. Safe storage education and strong child access prevention laws are critical to protecting families and communities.
Texas experienced one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history in 2022 when a gunman murdered 19 children and two educators and injured 14 others at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
We know that creating stronger vetting requirements to purchase semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s is a necessary step for making Texas safer. We cannot ignore the fact that nearly every mass shooting is carried out with a semi-automatic rifle, and many are perpetrated by people under the age of 21.
Texas should join other states that have adopted an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) law, allowing civil court judges to temporarily remove firearms from individuals threatening to harm themselves or others. This constitutional process saves lives and helps people in crisis access support. This measure could have prevented the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso.
In 2021, more than seventy percent of domestic violence victims were killed by a firearm. Texas should ensure domestic abusers prohibited from possessing firearms by law do not have access to them. A comprehensive statewide protocol for the relinquishment of firearms would make our existing laws more effective and prevent domestic homicides.
The state should invest in community violence intervention by creating a statewide office of violence prevention and supporting local community violence intervention programs. These proven efforts target resources to individuals who are at the greatest risk of gunshot victimization — reducing gun violence and deaths.
Suicide is preventable; nine out of ten people who unsuccessfully attempt suicide will not go on to kill themselves. In taking efforts to prevent gun access to those at risk of suicide, Texas can save lives.
Currently, Texans can obtain guns through private sales and gun shows to avoid federal background check requirements. We know the firearms used for mass shootings and many other gun deaths were purchased through these private sales. Seventy-eight percent of Texas voters support strengthening background checks, recognizing that we must do more to keep guns out of the hands of individuals with dangerous histories.