ARLINGTON, TX – In the aftermath of the terrifying school shooting in the Mansfield School District on Wednesday, a debate reignited over gun laws in the “Lone Star State” as Gov. Abbott said the shooter possessed the firearm “illegally.”
— CW39 (@CW39Houston) October 7, 2021
Eighteen-year-old Timothy George Simpkins allegedly opened fire Wednesday morning at Timberview High School in Arlington, leaving several people wounded. While the gunman was being sought by police, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) addressed Texans, telling them that the suspect possessed the gun “illegally.”
After calling for prayers for the victims of the shooting, the Governor said:
“The shooter, under Texas law, it is illegal for the shooter to either possess or to have purchased the gun that was used in this crime.
“Very importantly with regard to the school shooting that took place today, as well as with really any school shooting that I’m aware of, the gun that was possessed by the shooter was possessed illegally.”
Reporter: “Are you concerned that the new law of ‘constitutional carry’ is sending the wrong message to young people and that we could see more school shootings?”
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX): “The gun that was possessed by the shooter was possessed illegally.” pic.twitter.com/hCPN38rGKC
— The Recount (@therecount) October 6, 2021
The Governor wanted to get that message out as quickly as possible, knowing that critics would try to pin the shooting on the new Texas open carry law that went into effect September 1.
The law allows Texans aged 21 and older to carry handguns in public without needing a license. While House Bill 1927 still requires background checks and excludes felons from possession, the law remains highly controversial.
The suspect who was arrested in the Arlington shooting, however, was not 21, but 18-years-old, making his possession of the gun illegal. Simpkins was captured and taken into custody within hours after the shooting.
He was booked into the Arlington jail on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and shockingly, has been released on $75,000 bail.
Arlington school shooter is released on bond | Daily Mail Online https://t.co/0stwWz1F8P
— Melanie Alexander (@MelanieAlex62) October 7, 2021
Kevin Kolbye, the city’s assistant police chief, said the shooting began around 9:15 a.m. on the second floor of the high school. He said information indicates a fight broke out in class when the gun was pulled.
According to police, four people were injured in the shooting. Three of the victims were hospitalized, with at least one requiring surgery. There were no fatalities.
Initially fleeing the scene, Simpkins eventually turned himself in without incident.
Following the shooting, social media lit up with comments attacking Texas leaders for not protecting school children.
One Twitter user posted:
“Abbott and his donors are loving every bit of the horror, death, violence and lifetime of trauma inflicted on Texans.”
Today in Abbott’s Texas: School mass-shooting in Arlington Texas
Abbott and his donors are loving every bit of the horror, death, violence and lifetime of trauma inflicted on Texans. https://t.co/59nC6lg2RA
— Dallas Gal 🇺🇸🇵🇷🇸🇪🤘🏻🖖🌱 (@dfw_gal) October 6, 2021
User “Trillian Astra” asked:
“How many hours before Greg Abbott is out here explaining to us how we need more guns and forced births to solve this school shooting situation?”
How many hours before Greg Abbott is out here explaining to us how we need more guns and forced births to solve this school shooting situation?
— Trillian Astra (@ReneeStLouis) October 6, 2021
So far, there have been 21 school shootings this year, according to Education Week. Last year, there were only 1ten shootings while most kids were doing remote learning over COVID-19 concerns.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a statement:
“The number one job of our elected officials is to keep Texans safe. Today, Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans once again failed — because their dangerous gun laws are making it easier than ever for just about anyone to get a gun.
“How many tragedies is it going to take before Texas Republicans put aside their agenda and start putting our families first? We are long past the time for thoughts and prayers. We can’t afford to keep waiting.”
Texas Gov. Abbott on school shooting: "Under Texas law, it is illegal for the shooter to either possess or to have purchased the gun that was used in this crime." https://t.co/dErSMQqSj0 pic.twitter.com/hogehYxPBs
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) October 6, 2021
After trying to quell the anti-firearm comments, the Governor took a moment to recognize the grief Texans feel for the victims:
“What we can say, obviously, is this, and that is we grieve for everyone who has been harmed or impacted by this in any way whatsoever. And we as state, working with the local communities, will do everything possible to ensure that the shooter is swiftly and effectively prosecuted.”
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Land of the free: Texas Governor signs into law permit-free gun carrying legislation
June 19, 2021
TEXAS – Residents in the state of Texas will soon be able to carry their handguns without needing to obtain any sort of permit in the state, as Governor Greg Abbott recently signed legislation approving the aforementioned.
According to the law, people aged 21 years or older who can legally possess a firearm in the state will be allowed to carry in public without any needed license of training.
Texas GOP governor signs bill into law allowing citizens to carry handguns in public without obtaining licenses or training https://t.co/urot2PvCL3
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 16, 2021
Governor Abbott signed HB1927 earlier in June, which the law will reportedly go into effect in September of 2021. Back in April, the Texas governor indicated that he would be signing such legislation if lawmakers were able to make it come to fruition.
Under current Texas law, residents of the state were already allowed to openly carry rifles without any sort of licensing.
However, when it relates to handguns that are either open or concealed carry, Texas law required a fingerprint submission, background check, participation in a training course and the passing of a shooting proficiency test.
But once the law take effect in September, Texans will be granted what’s often referred to as “constitutional carry” as it relates to handguns.
State Republicans find this to be a win in the realm of the Second Amendment, noting that the passing of this law helps remove a sort of barrier aimed at preventing Texans from exercising their right to bear arms.
Of course, Democrats aren’t too thrilled reportedly, as this legislation is being interpreted by some the undermines public safety with the elimination of mandatory firearms training.
Back in April, the idea of this law even drew criticism from those in law enforcement in Texas.
Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia said he felt as though requiring some firearms training isn’t that large of an ask from the public:
“A minimum level of training is not asking too much for carrying a firearm and it is consistent with the second amendment.”
Chief Garcia added that a constitutional carry law would also make it more difficult for police to distinguish a “good guy with a gun from a bad guy with a gun.”
The April 13th comments delivered by Chief Garcia latched primarily onto the notion of public and officer safety:
“It makes our job, the job of our men and women, more dangerous. Gun owners have a duty to insure that their firearms are handled safely and a duty to know applicable laws. The licensing process is the best way to make sure this message is conveyed.”
Texas GOP Chairman Allen West finds the notion of requiring a permit to exercise a constitutional right after someone had passed a background check to purchase a firearm is ridiculous:
“Why is it that we have to have a permit for our second amendment rights?”
“If you pass that background check then that firearm is yours. And here in the state of Texas we should not have to ask for a permit to carry the firearm that we are legally able to have because of our constitutional right.”
Gun legislation has been a hot topic since the Biden administration came into the fold, which states and localities have been enacting all sorts of pro-Second Amendment legislation in anticipation of potential federal gun restrictions.
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