Republican leaders in Texas play down guns, focus on mental health after Allen shooting

A tragic incident has occurred in Allen, Texas, where a shooting took place at a mall, with eight people losing their lives and several others injured. The shooter made use of an AR-15 style weapon to carry out the attack, after which he was fatally shot by a police officer who happened to be present at the scene.

The event has led to an uproar and consequent discussion about the need for gun control legislation, but Texas Republicans are advocating against it. Instead, they’re emphasizing the necessity of enhancing mental health facilities to address the root of gun violence. Governor Greg Abbott has put forth this approach as a means of tackling the anger and violence issue, while Representative Keith Self, a Republican from Allen, also emphasized the role played by mental health institutions’ closures in such cases.

While the demand for gun safety measures is on the rise, it has proved insufficient so far, having missed deadlines in state legislative sessions. Despite efforts to raise the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21, backed by Uvalde school shooting victims’ families, it is unlikely to be passed by a House committee by Monday’s deadline.

The shooting took place at Allen Premium Outlets, a shopping center for both locals and tourists, where shoppers were targeted indiscriminately. Among those caught up in the chaos were Helen Bennett and her daughter, who were celebrating Bennett’s birthday at the mall. They were inside a store when they heard the sound of gunshots, prompting a store manager to lock the doors and move customers to the back room. Bennett said the sound of the gunshots echoed repeatedly, with no end in sight.

Even after the shooter’s gun went silent, they were left in the backroom for approximately two hours with the others, where they sang “Happy Birthday” to Bennett to try and lighten the mood. However, the aftermath of the horrific event is likely to cause lasting trauma, with three out of the seven injured still in critical condition as of Sunday.

The victims’ and gunman’s names have yet to be released while Medical City Healthcare said they were treating patients as young as five years old. This article, which originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, highlights the dire need for gun safety measures and the importance of addressing mental health concerns for the prevention of future tragedies.

Content and Photo credit go to Texas Standard

Read the full article on Texas Standard News

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