Texas is loosening gun laws. Here’s what you need to know:
One of the laws reduces penalties for those who carry guns in places of worship, including churches, synagogues, and mosques, that ban firearms.
Others target schools: allowing districts to appoint more armed “school marshals” and making sure they can’t ban licensed gun owners from keeping guns or ammunition in a locked car in school parking lot, as long as the firearms are out of plain view.
For a full week after natural disasters, it will no longer be a crime for Texans to carry a handgun without a license.
These reforms reflect rising public fear around mass shootings and climate change. People are looking to feel safer at schools and places of worship - given that they are both common targets of high-profile mass shootings such as the Tree of Life Synagogue and Parkland shootings. People are also looking for more security in the wake of climate disasters, due to a perceived increase in crime in their aftermath - even though reports are often exaggerated and unfounded (Washington Post).
We should be addressing these fears with legislation that makes American citizens safer. These reforms simply do not cut it.
All of these changes reflect the philosophy that during an emergency, more guns provide more safety. It follows the “good guy with a gun theory” - a myth that persists in the American conscious despite evidence (The Slate) and trained soldiers’ testimonies to the contrary (NBC News).
This philosophy spreads the thinking of “every man for himself” - that because our government has failed to protect us, we must individually carry guns and take care of ourselves:
Someone start shooting up your church? You better be armed to take them down.
A kid bring a gun to school? There better be an armed guard to take them out.
Hurricane hit your town? You better have a gun to defend your small business from looting.
Instead of charging individuals with their safety, a method that involves giving lethal weapons to subjectively biased and untrained citizens, we must work together to create solutions that protect us all - ones informed by factual evidence rather than fear.