5.25.2022 Austin, Texas
Statement on the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas
It is hard to find the words to respond to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and 2 adults. The shooter is alleged to have bought one of the AR-15 style assault guns on May 17 (the day after he turned 18) from a licensed federal firearms dealer. On May 18 he is alleged to have purchased 375 rounds of ammunition and on May 20 he purchased the second AR-15 style assault gun. Within days 19 children and two teachers were killed by this person. Texas law allows an 18-year-old to legally purchase guns.
What can be done in Texas to prevent such a traumatic event from occurring again? The Texas Legislature won’t be in session again until January, so we must urge Congress to act now. The House of Representatives has already passed HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and the Senate must now act.
Urge your senators to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and save Americans from the terror of gun violence. Following are some talking points about background checks.
Take action here.
Two studies from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that state laws requiring a permit—and background check—before an individual can purchase a handgun reduced gun-related homicides.
Universal background checks may also reduce illegal gun trafficking. For instance, a study in the Journal of Urban Health found that fewer guns originated in states with universal background checks than in states with no background checks for private sales of firearms.
It is estimated that 25-50% of gun show sales are from unlicensed or private individual sellers.
Requiring background checks of all gun sales and transfers will not cause gun crimes and violence to cease. However universal background check laws could reduce gun crime by increasing the price of firearms in the secondary markets on which criminals mostly rely.
Most important is that background checks stop what has been one of the easiest ways to obtain a gun, for those who should not own guns.
Gun violence prevention is not partisan. Study the candidates who will be on your November Ballot and learn their positions on gun violence prevention. Pre-filing of legislation for the 2023 Texas legislative session begins in November, after the general election. Communicate with your legislators in Austin as well as their opponents to let them know that gun violence prevention is important to you and that all lives, especially children’s, are just as important as the second amendment.
Grace Chimene, President, League of Women Voters of Texas
Aimee Mobley Turney, Gun Safety Issue Chair