Stalled Gun Reform Bill Advanced by Texas Committee After 199th U.S. Mass Shooting

May 8, 2023

Legislation increasing some gun restrictions advanced in the GOP-led Texas state House Monday, following a mass shooting in a Dallas suburb over the weekend.

Eight people were killed and seven others wounded when a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall Saturday in Allen, Texas. The gunman is also dead after being fired on by police.

It was the 199th mass shooting in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive which defines the crime as four or more people killed or injured by gunfire. 

Since the shooting at the Texas mall, there have also been at least five more mass shootings have been committed in the U.S., bringing the total to 204. Monday was the 128th day of the year. 

On Monday the Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety voted 8-5, with two Republicans joining six Democrats, to advance a bill that would raise the semiautomatic rifle purchasing age in that state from 18 to 21. 

However, the bill has little to no chance of becoming law when it advances to the full state House—despite protesters chanting “Do Something!” in the hallways of the Texas state Capitol. Some of the protesters were relatives of the 19 children and two adults killed a year ago this month in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has previously brushed off the idea of raising the purchasing age for any guns to 21 or older. However, gun control advocates saw passing the bill through even the committee as some progress. 

Abbott on Sunday called for addressing mental health issues in the wake of the Texas shooting, saying on Fox News Sunday, “We’ve seen an increase number of shootings in states with easy gun laws as well as states with very strict gun laws.”

He was responding to a recent Fox News Poll which found that the American public overwhelmingly supports more restrictive gun laws, including 61% of those who responded saying they favor banning assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, while only 45% said they would encourage more citizens to carry guns to defend against attackers.

On Sunday following the shooting, President Biden again called for the U.S. Congress to renew the assault weapons ban that it had allowed to expire in 2004, saying in a statement, “Once again I ask Congress to send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Enacting universal background checks. Requiring safe storage. Ending immunity for gun manufacturers. I will sign it immediately. We need nothing less to keep our streets safe.”

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