Firearm violence in Texas


Kaelin Collar

“Rate of firearm violence in the United States.”

Violence throughout the United States has always been prevalent but has begun to increase significantly over the years. A part of the contribution to violence revolves around firearms. As of today, there are 31 open carry states, with the only conditions of owning a firearm being 21 years old and not having a criminal record in any state.

On Sept. 1, 2021, the Texas legislature passed a new law, HB 1927, which gave people who qualify under the law to carry a firearm in public without a license to carry. Although Texans can still apply for a license to carry for additional policies, the new law does not require a permit.

HB 1927 permits those eligible to be at least 21 years old, not have a prior felony conviction, have no recent misdemeanors listed in the Texas Penal Code, and are not intoxicated except in certain situations listed in Texas Penal Code Section 36.02(a-6).

With a recent law passed, Texas became one of the other 30 states that do not require a constitutional permit to carry a firearm. While there have been a lot of controversies since the law was authorized, the safety of the public has become most critical.

After Governor Greg Abbott signed the permitless carry law, it was announced that Abbott’s signature secured the excitement of conservative activists working towards constitutional carry, which upset a portion of the state who fight for gun control. Believing permitless carry would endanger officers, make it easier for criminals to obtain weapons and increase the crime rate, the Texas Senate initiated several amendments to address the concerns of permitless carry.

Kept out of the public’s eye, the compromise kept changing within the Senate before finalizing the bill. For instance, there was a special provision that would have allowed officers to question people based solely on their possession of a firearm. The Senate further amended the criminal penalties for felons and violent offenders caught carrying a weapon.

Republicans that refer to the new law as constitutional carry argued that Texas should join in with several other states which have permitted it. However, gun control advocates became infuriated with legislation making it easier to obtain weapons, especially after repeated gun violence attacks.

According to 2019 data from The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, “3,683 people died in Texas due to a firearm.”

With HB 1927, Texas has seen a rise in death rates. According to World Population Review, Texas has rose 12.4% in deaths by guns since 2022 began.

“It [firearm violence] still has a long road ahead to raise awareness and educate the public about this preventable societal issue,” said the Texas Violence Council.

When commenting about HB 1927 being passed, Texas Congressman, Tony Gonzalez, stated, “I oppose any legislation that controls gun rights. I am taking a different approach; let’s look at mental health and have a discussion on the table about all the above of who can legally own a firearm.”

Since the passing of open or concealed carry in Texas, there has been controversy over the matter. While the future is unforeseen regarding firearm laws and control, it is essential to know safety precautions when handling a weapon. Even if you are against getting yourself a permit, educate yourself. Take some classes to learn how to be safe, alert and aware when around firearms.