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TX – GUN CRIME – After Two Mass Shootings, What Does The Gun Debate Look Like In West Texas?

TX – GUN CRIME – After Two Mass Shootings, What Does The Gun Debate Look Like In West Texas?

August was a month unlike any other for West Texas. Two mass shootings — one in the city of El Paso and another in Odessa — left 29 dead and dozens injured. The tragedies have pushed the Lone Star State into the national conversation on gun violence, once again. Texas is, in general, a gun-loving state. But what does the discussion look like on the ground for West Texans? “You kind of forget the tragedy that happened,”  said Kelly Benavides of Odessa. “You’re just here — Friday Night Lights. This is normal. This is what we do all the time.” The two cities are almost 300 miles apart, but now, they’re more connected than ever. “You know sometimes it’s not about football, it’s about the community uniting together,” said Letty Alvarez, who traveled to the game from El Paso. “Both of our cities were attacked and held hostage by rage and hatred,” a voice boomed over the PA at halftime. “We join tonight at a high school football game to cheer and support our students. Tonight, we can also show the world that hate has no place in West Texas.” The recent mass shootings in Texas — plus others in Ohio and California — have reignited the political gun fight that follows high-profile shootings, time and time again. In Texas, liberal state lawmakers are pushing for a special session focused on gun violence. El Pasoan and Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke called for a buyback of AR-style rifles. But this time, talk of tightening laws around firearms isn’t just coming from the left. The most notable example? Conservative Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.“ That gap of stranger-to-stranger we have to close, in my view,” Patrick told the Dallas Morning News several days after the Odessa shooting. In Texas, private gun sales don’t require background checks — which is how the Odessa shooter, who had failed a federal background check and been barred from buying a firearm in the past, acquired his weapon. Patrick, an avid gun rights advocate, is talking about partially closing that loophole while protecting sales between family members and friends.  [full article]

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