Greg Abbott was elected governor of Texas on Nov. 3, 2015. The next day, two people died in a murder/suicide. On Nov. 15, six people died when a man befriended a group of campers near his home outside Palestine, TX, allegedly shot four of them in the woods and the other two at the campsite. A week later, a man shot four people in a nightclub in Brownsville, TX.
On Thanksgiving eve three days later, one man died and three were wounded when two groups of men who had ‘an ongoing feud’ met in a parking lot in Southwest Houston and began shooting at each other. That’s just three weeks into his tenure.
On Jan. 1, 2016, the Open Carry law that allowed license-holders to carry handguns openly in a hip or shoulder holster went into effect. On August 1, the ‘campus carry’ law went into effect, allowing permit holders to carry only concealed handguns on campus and into buildings of public universities. To earn a Texas Concealed Weapon License, one must complete four hours of training, have a 70% accuracy rate in a shooting range exam, and be 21.
On July 7, 2016, a 25-year-old gunman targeted police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, killing five officers and injuring nine others, as well as two civilians. Police could not distinguish between law-abiding gun owners and a killer. The Open Carry Law confused an already chaotic situation.
On Nov. 5, 2017, a 26-year-old gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing at least 26 people and wounding 20 others.
On May 18, 2018, a 17-year-old student opened fire at Santa Fe High School near Houston with a shotgun and .38 revolver, killing eight students and two teachers and injuring 13 others. The weapons were legally owned by his father, but he couldn’t be held liable because Texas’s child-access prevention law only applies to children under 17.
A month before the shootings, Abbott spoke to about 5,000 gun enthusiasts at the annual NRA convention in Dallas, asserting that “the answer to gun violence is not to take guns away, the answer is to strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The problem is not guns, it’s hearts without God.”
After Santa Fe, he wanted new gun laws “to make sure this tragedy is never repeated. We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families.”
On Aug. 3, 2019, a 21-year-old gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 23 and injuring 25. He posted a racist manifesto online shortly before his nine-hour drive from a Dallas suburb: “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Abbott’s response? “We must do one thing today, one thing tomorrow and each and every day after this. We must unite . . . Now is the time for Texans to come together to support each other, to help these families in need and make sure that El Paso takes the step forward that it needs to take.”
What Abbott failed to mention was that during the last legislative session, he signed bills that further loosened Texas’ permissive gun laws, including not needing an additional license to openly carry a long gun, like an AR-15.
On Aug. 31, a 36-year-old gunman went on a rampage in Midland-Odessa, killing seven and injuring 25.
On Sept. 1, 2021, Texas’s Permitless Carry Law went into effect. A license to carry in Texas is still available, but it’s not required. Gun owners no longer have to pass a safety course and background check to get a license to carry. Though a free, online gun safety course is offered, training is no longer required to carry a handgun. Gun purchases through private sellers do not require a background check. After Sept. 1, a background check is no longer required to obtain and carry a handgun.
Also on this date, the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary state’ law went into effect as a way to shield Texas from gun laws that could potentially be passed at the federal level.
On May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX killing 19 children and two teachers and injuring 17 people. He bought two AR-15 rifles, 375 rounds of ammunition, and tactical gear just after his 18th birthday.
Greg Abbott was scheduled to speak at the NRA convention in Houston on May 27 but changed his mind on the 26th, two days after the Uvalde shooting. In a prerecorded message, he stated that existing gun laws didn’t stop the Uvalde gunman because “madmen carry out evil acts in peaceful communities.”
No. Existing gun laws did not stop the Uvalde gunman because they made his deadly purchases legal and simple, thanks to you, Governor Abbott.