Raise the age limit to buy weapons; will it matter?
Texas lawmakers have voted to move forward with House Bill 2744, a legislative measure aimed at raising the minimum age for purchasing specific semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. This comes as a surprise to some, given Texas’s reputation as a strong supporter of gun rights. The bill targets semi-automatic rifles larger than .22. However, the bill will still need to pass both the House and the full Senate before becoming law.
Despite the legislation’s progress, questions remain regarding its potential effectiveness. Research conducted by experts on six of the most recent mass shootings in the state suggests that, in most instances, HB 2744 would not have prevented the tragedy. The shootings include:
– 2016: Dallas, Texas: A gunman used an AK-47 style assault rifle to fatally shoot five police officers. HB 2744 would not have prevented this tragedy.
– 2017: Sutherland Springs, Texas: A gunman killed 26 people using an AR-556 rifle and two handguns. HB 2744 would not have stopped this shooting.
– 2018: Santa Fe, Texas: A teenager killed 10 people with a shotgun and a .38 revolver purchased by his father. HB 2744 would not have made a difference.
– 2019: El Paso, Texas: A gunman killed 23 people in a Walmart using an AK-47. Although he was 21 at the time, HB 2744 could have prevented this tragedy if it were already in place.
– 2022: Uvalde, Texas: An 18-year-old gunman killed 21 people at Robb Elementary using an AR-15-style rifle he had purchased. HB 2744 could have prevented this tragedy.
– 2023: Allen, Texas: A gunman killed eight people at a shopping mall using an AR-style rifle and a handgun. HB 2744 would not have prevented this tragedy.
In total, these six incidents resulted in 93 fatalities, but the bill could have prevented 44 of those deaths – many of them children. That may be one reason why many of the victim’s families in Uvalde have advocated for the law’s passage.
A chart of mass killings in Texas since 2007 provides some additional context for HB 2744’s potential impact. In any case, lawmakers’ willingness to consider such legislation marks a significant departure from recent trends favoring looser gun control laws.
As the bill proceeds through the legislative process, many are sure to be watching closely to see whether Texas will end up passing one of the strictest gun control measures in the state’s history.
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