The Texas GOP spent the past two decades building a firearm-obsessed state. No one is safer for it.

by | Dec 31, 2019 | Gun violence, Policy

After a string of deadly back-to-back mass shootings in recent years, Texas Republicans continued their argument —give guns to more people—following the weekend shooting in a White Settlement church in North Texas.

So far, praise has been rightfully heaped onto Jack Wilson, the guard who killed the shooter seconds after he fatally opened fire on two parishioners. 

But as is the routine, Texas Republicans have yet to give any critical thought as to how the 43-year-old would-be mass shooter acquired a shotgun in the first place, despite his lengthy criminal history, including charges and arrests for deadly conduct, theft, assault and unlawful possession of a weapon.

Instead, the only message being amplified by conservatives is that an armed Texan was in the right place at the right time. That’s true. And lucky. But what about asking why places of worship around the state feel the need to hire armed security in the first place? 

That question is an indictment of the Republican policy of doing nothing about gun violence in a state where it’s become commonplace. They talked a big game after the mass shootings in Odessa and El Paso. Turns out they’ve decided to turn a blind eye to the safety and security of Texans.

Since enacting mild and wildly popular gun safety legislation is out of the question for Texas Republicans embarrassingly beholden to the NRA, the only option has been to lurch rightwards, loosening gun restrictions in the hopes that these endless mass killings might be stopped– not by preventing mass shooters from acquiring their firearms– but by flooding the state with them in hopes that every conceivable location a shooter might strike is armed to the teeth.

“If more guns and fewer gun laws made Texas safer, it would be the safest state in the US. Instead, it has high rates of gun suicide and homicide, and is home to 4 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings,” Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

The state’s Republican leadership has steadily conscripted Texans into a war against mass murders. Any manifesto-driven shooter with a felony record can walk into a gun show and purchase an assault weapon without a background check– but hey, so can any Texan, leaving it up to the public to duke it out with mass shooters on the streets, in festivals, college campuses, places of worship, and most recently thanks to Gov. Greg Abbott, in natural disaster emergency shelters.

Let’s hope the next time there’s a mass shooting GOP leaders aren’t callous enough to blame the victims for not being armed to protect themselves. Without hyperbole, that looks like where this is headed. 

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