Texas politicians are looking anew at ways to reduce gun violence after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa. Although dozens of policies, from the piecemeal to the comprehensive, have been proposed. The Dallas Morning News asks whether any would have made a difference to the gun massacres Texans have experienced in the past, two years. The News examined the proposals that Texas elected officials are now discussing and have proposed in the past, in addition to similar laws in other states.
In roundtable discussions he convened after the El Paso shooting, Texas Gov. Abbott, for example, discussed whether the state should strengthen its system of welfare checks for people who may be a danger to themselves or others. Police can already perform welfare checks when someone calls in with concerns about some else’s health, safety or suspicious activity. Abbott said he would be looking at “some kind of strategy that would lead to welfare checks when these sorts of issues are raised,” but it’s unclear what that might look like. If the state somehow enhances this police authority, it’s unlikely it would have applied to the El Paso shooting because the alleged gunman’s mother did not provide names or raise specific safety concerns. While at least a dozen states have across-the-board background checks, and several more require both a state-issued permit and a successful background check. Texas has not restricted private firearms sales.