Yesterday marked three years since a shooter, motivated by far-right ideology and racism against the Latinx community, opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 and wounding 23 more. In the three years since this tragedy, gun violence has continued to devastate communities across the state every single day. And in those three years, Governor Greg Abbott has refused to take action to stem Texas’ gun violence crisis, instead working to dismantle the state’s few existing gun safety protections and putting Texas families and communities at further risk.
This week also marked just over two months since the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde — another predominantly Latinx community — in which 19 elementary school students and two of their teachers were shot and killed. Governor Abbott’s response to this tragedy, unsurprisingly, mirrored his response after El Paso: implementing no meaningful solutions, pandering to the gun lobby, and ignoring the role of guns flooding Texas streets, all while refusing to seek common sense solutions that gun violence survivors, gun safety advocates, and key public safety stakeholders have been asking him to implement for years.
Here’s where things stand in Governor Abbott’s Texas:
- Texas continues to lead the nation in both the number of people killed in mass shootings since 2009 and the number of school shootings since 2012
- There have been at least eight additional hate crimes involving a gun across the state since the mass shooting in El Paso.
- In an average year, 3,647 people die and 5,556 more are wounded by guns in Texas
- Guns are the leading cause of death among the state’s youth population
- Gun violence costs Texas $51.3 billion each year
Texas lawmakers cannot afford to ignore the majority of voters who support stronger gun safety laws. Instead of convening more meaningless, do-nothing special committees and spending millions to militarize schools, Governor Abbott and Texas lawmakers should take a cue from federal lawmakers and work across the aisle to implement real solutions that will help save lives. Some of those solutions include repealing permitless carry, requiring background checks on all gun sales, enacting a red flag law, regulating assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and raising the age to purchase a gun.
Additional statistics about gun violence in Texas are available here, and more information about the impact of gun violence on Latinx communities is available here. Everytown’s interactive gun law ranking tool which shows how Texas’ gun laws compare to those of other states is available here.