The Dallas Morning News damaged down the particular circumstances behind the Odessa, El Paso, Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs shootings to discover out what preventive measures, criminal penalty or enforcement mechanisms would certainly have applied in every case.

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Gun rights advocates gather outside the state Capitol in Austin wherein Gov. Greg Abbott hosted a roundtable discussion Aug. 22 in the wake of the massive shooting in ~ an El Paso Walmart. ~ the Midland-Odessa shooting, the 2nd gun massacre in Texas in less than a month, state public representative are now seriously debating more-restrictive gun regulations for the very first time. (Eric gay / The connected Press)
Texas political leaders are spring anew at ways to mitigate gun violence in the wake up of the recent mass shootings in El Paso and also Odessa. Dozens that policies, from the piecemeal to the comprehensive, have been proposed. 

But would any have used to the four massacres Texans have actually experienced because November 2017? The Dallas Morning News sought to answer this inquiry by breaking down the situations behind some of the shootings to discover which preventative measures, criminal penalties or enforcement mechanisms would certainly have used in every case.

The News then compared these measures to the proposals Texas chosen officials are now discussing and have proposed in the past, in enhancement to comparable laws in other states. Here"s what we found.


The gunman in the Midland-Odessa shoot purchased his AR-style rifle through a exclusive sale that allowed him to protect against a lift check, follow to recent reports. He had previously failed a background check since of a history of mental illness.


Several states have actually cracked under on unchecked person-to-person sales. Brand-new Mexico just pass a law requiring background checks for virtually all weapons sales. At least a dozen other states additionally have across-the-board background checks, and several an ext require both a state-issued allow and a effective background check.

Texas has not limited private guns sales. Here, that legal because that someone come buy a gun indigenous a stranger without having actually to go with a elevator check. Follow to federal guidance, personal sellers who are not “engaging in the business” of selling weapons on a continuous basis perform not need to be federally licensed and also therefore space not forced to run buyers v the National instant Criminal Background examine System, or NICS.


These unchecked private sales can take place online, at gun mirrors or most everywhere else as lengthy as the firearm isn"t crossing state lines. One caveat: exclusive sellers who have a "reasonable cause" to believe the the person who lives cannot legally possess a gun under federal law cannot legally make the sale.

Gov. Greg Abbott and also Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, both Republicans, have questioned even if it is this have to change. Special, they"ve both publicly increased the possibility of requiring a background inspect for every gun sales between strangers. On Friday, Patrick said he"d defy the NRA top top the issue of stranger-to-stranger background checks.

Initially, Abbott raised the worry that "a terrorist" might legally purchase firearms under existing law, and also Patrick has dubbed it "a loophole in our background checks that," if closed, "can resolve a most problems."


Patrick, however, likewise said the requiring background checks for private sales would not apply to total shows.

"It"s not the gun show loophole because most the those space firearm certified dealer there" who are federally licensed and therefore have to perform a elevator check, Patrick called conservative radio present host mark Davis top top Aug. 19. "It"s simply stranger to stranger. They don"t recognize who they"re offering the gun to."

Neither Abbott"s no one Patrick"s office reply questions around whether castle would support requiring lift checks for all private transactions made in ~ gun shows. Multiple democracy filed such regulation last session, yet the bills got little traction. Patrick has actually opposed request background checks for exchanges made between friends and also family members.


Finally, authorities freshly raided the residence of a male suspected of illegal manufacturing and also selling the rifle used in the Odessa shooting, according to The wall Street Journal. A patent is not required to produce a gun completely for personal use, however federal law does call for an separation, personal, instance to gain a license (and operation a background check on the buyer) if they market that firearm. It likewise wholly prohibits someone from placing together a "non-sporting semiautomatic rifle or shotgun indigenous 10 or more imported parts" or one the cannot be picked up by steel detectors or X-rays.

Texas bans details weapons and accessories outright, including an equipment guns, short-barrel rifles, improvised weapons like so-called zip guns, armor-piercing ammunition and also most silencers.

El Paso shooting: Welfare checks and red flag laws

The gunman accused of killing 22 civilization in a racially urged shooting in ~ an El Paso Walmart legitimate purchased his AK-style rifle and ammunition virtual from retailers in Romania and also Russia, respectively. He supposedly passed a background inspect completed through the U.S. Retailer to whom the gun to be sent.


The alleged gunman"s mother had referred to as the police in the weeks before the shooting about her son"s gun. However, she did no raise specific safety concerns and also did not give either she or her son"s name, according to an attorney representing the accused.

The fact that she feeling it essential to reach out to legislation enforcement has actually spurred conversations around how the contact might have been much better handled. Have to the public safety and security officer, who was no a sworn police officer, have pressed the mother for more details throughout the call? should there be instrument in place to course these calls come a certain officer or agency?

In roundtable discussions he convened ~ the El Paso shooting, Abbott discussed these ideas as well as whether the state need to strengthen its device of welfare check for civilization who might be a peril to us or others.


Police can currently perform welfare checks as soon as someone call in with concerns about some else’s health, safety and security or suspicious activity. Abbott said he would be looking at “some kind of strategy the would result in welfare checks when these kinds of problems are raised,” yet it’s unsure what that could look like. If the state somehow improves this police authority, it’s i can not qualify it would certainly have used to the El Paso case due to the fact that the alleged gunman’s mommy did not carry out names or raise specific safety concerns.

Some democracy say the state should go a action further and pass one extreme-risk protective-order law. Much better known together “red flag” laws, this provisions allow judges to order that weapons to it is in turned over by or confiscated native someone that poses a risk to self or others.

In Texas, recently filed bills would have permitted family members and law enforcement come ask a judge to temporarily seize the guns of such a person "as a result of the respondent"s significant mental disease and accessibility to firearms." State lawmakers walk not conflict the bills after ~ Abbott and Patrick come out versus the idea, citing concerns around protecting civil liberties and second Amendment rights.


According to the Giffords Law facility to stop Gun Violence, 17 states and the district of Columbia have actually passed some sort of red flag law. Some permit friends or household to advanced formal concerns; others, choose Florida"s, say just police or other officials can do so.

Santa Fe shooting: Child access prevention laws

The gunman who is accused of killing 10 of his classmates and teachers in ~ Santa Fe High school was 17 at the time of the may 2018 shooting. The allegedly supplied a 12-gauge shotgun and .38 revolver which  belonged come his father.


In Texas, adults can be charged through a class A misdemeanor if a child supplies their pistol to kill or seriously injure us or others. The law specifies "child" together anyone that is under 17 and requires the adult to have acted negligently through failing to ensure the pistol was properly stored.

After the Santa Fe shooting, peak leaders disputed upping the possible penalties and also increasing the period of a child defined in the law to incorporate 17-year-olds. Several bills to this result were filed through members the both parties during the last legislative session; none to be passed right into law.

The state walk pass numerous other measures aimed at boosting school safety, consisting of an omnibus bill that requires districts to draw up thorough "multi-hazard emergency operations plans." Lawmakers additionally voted to lift the cap on the number of armed employees, trained personnel recognized as "school marshals," each campus deserve to have.


Sutherland Springs: residential violence laws 

On Nov. 5, 2017, a U.S. Air force veteran shot and killed 26 people at the small Baptist church in rural central Texas wherein his mother-in-law worshipped. The 26-year-old had been court-martialed for residential abuse ~ beating his wife and stepson, and also had also escaped native a mental facility wherein he was admitted after threaten to kill his superiors. That left the army with a poor conduct discharge.

But the Air force failed to report his residential abuse conviction come the NICS, enabling him to pass a lift check and also purchase the AR-556 he supplied in the shooting. The victims" families are currently suing the federal federal government for negligence and have sued the retailer from who he purchased the gun and also high-capacity magazines, using identification from Colorado, wherein such magazines space illegal.


Conservatives in Texas have actually pooh-poohed propose to half high-capacity magazines or AR- or AK-style rifles. However there’s growing bipartisan assistance for tightening the state’s residential violence reporting requirements.

Federal law bars anyone convicted of domestic violence from own a firearm. However, numerous misdemeanor abuse convictions that space pleaded down from felony offenses are no reported to the NICS. This allows some residential abusers to happen background checks and also buy guns. Last session, a GOP-backed bill to require reporting passed the Texas Senate yet died the House.

Furthermore, even when domestic abusers are told lock cannot have a gun, the law frequently goes unenforced. Another bill filed last year that would certainly have compelled each ar to placed together a task pressure for the surrender and return of weapons by domestic abusers was disputed in committee however never poll on.


However, legislator did pass a law the requires world convicted of residential abuse to show up in court and also be told, in person, that they must offer up their guns.

Texas also made it simpler for human being to bring guns right into churches and after a organic disaster. Landlords deserve to no much longer ban renters from having actually guns on your properties, and Abbott additionally signed numerous other laws to resolve gun storage rule at foster treatment homes and in car parked at public schools, and to provide legal cover to equipped Texans who accidentally get in gun-free zones.

The NRA referred to as it a "highly successful" year in Texas.


"When you get 10 pro-Second Amendment receipt to the governor and also he indications them all, I would certainly rank the up there with one of the most successful sessions we"ve had since I"ve been doing this," NRA local lobbyist Tara Mica claimed on June 14.

The El Paso shooting arisen less than two months later.

See more: Did John Adams Live In The White House, The Bill Of Rights: How Did It Happen


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Lauren McGaughy. Lauren is an investigative reporter based in Austin whereby she focuses on federal government accountability, criminal justice and LGBTQ issues. Prior to joining the investigative team, she spanned Texas national politics for The News and also Houston Chronicle, and Louisiana politics for The new Orleans Times-Picayune. She loves cats and comic books and cooks a typical steak.

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