Editorial: New gun laws that eliminates the need for permit isn’t helping curb school gun violence

A shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington left four injured Wednesday morning. An 18-year-old student at the school surrendered to Arlington Police and was charged with three counts of assault. It commanded the nation’s attention for several hours.

People have experienced this before, and school shootings leave many people heartbroken. While Texas politicians are not solely responsible for these attacks, their efforts to loosen gun rights restrictions haven’t helped.

Parents should not be afraid of taking their children to school. Students should never have to feel worried about their educational environment. Teachers and staff should always feel safe at their workplace.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board believes while politicians should not prohibit firearms, people carrying weapons should undergo proper training and required background checks. They should learn to respect the gun and use it properly before openly carrying it.

Guns can take away people’s lives, and they should not be used for the wrong reasons.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1927 and turned it into law Sept. 1, allowing Texans to open carry without a background check or proper training the state previously required. People 21 years old and above can carry a handgun, as long as they do not have any felonies or domestic violence convictions.

When the Texas House approved HB 1927 on April 15, it initially did not have enough support to pass the Texas Senate. The Senate and House then passed multiple versions of the HB 1927 until they reached a final negotiation in May.

In April, The Shorthorn Editorial Board condemned this bill, saying the timing was tone-deaf with recent mass shootings and the traumatic experience parents have to go through when they send their children to school, not knowing what would happen. Teachers and staff members should also not have to endure the traumatic toll as they survive school shootings.

We stand by the statement made in our previous editorial.

The discussion on whether teachers should carry firearms to protect students comes off just as irresponsible. Every day, teachers have to deal with a lot of stress handling their students, and it can be difficult to control their actions when they feel overwhelmed.

There is no good reason to make guns more accessible, and opening up the use of firearms without a license or proper training potentially puts guns in the wrong hands.

Everybody needs a driver’s license to drive their vehicles, which requires people to check for their ability to operate a vehicle. However, Texans currently don’t need a permit to carry their firearms publicly.

An estimated three million U.S. children are exposed to shootings every year, whether at school, in the community or at home. As of Monday, there were at least 101 gunfire incidents on school grounds, leaving 21 deaths and 56 injured, according to data by Everytown for Gun Safety, a nationwide gun violence prevention organization.

From 2000 to 2020, the National Center for Education Statistics reported casualties from school shootings each year ranged from 15 to 182. In 2019-2020, 32 people died, and 88 were injured from school shootings.

Less than two weeks ago, three schools in the Arlington Independent School District locked all exterior school doors from the inside to prevent people from entering the building when police officers heard reports of gunshots fired. No imminent threats were found at the schools, and a 17-year-old man later showed up at Medical City Arlington with a gunshot wound to the foot.

Students returned to learning as police conducted the investigation in the surrounding areas, according to the administrators’ information, reported by the CBS DFW.

It’s also important to consider how school shootings will impact survivors. In 2019, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research reported that individuals' average rate of antidepressants two years after being exposed to local school shooting incidents increased by 21%.

Those affected by school shootings commonly express anxiety, nightmares, grief, guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder behaviors. However, people don’t think about these emotions survivors have to deal with, as many are desensitized to this violent behavior. In the days following a school shooting, other than those who were involved in the incident, rarely do people want to bring up the incident again.

As people resume in-person activities, it is important to remember mental health plays a significant factor in gun incidents. People have spent an entire year and a half in lockdown. Their mental health is being tested, and people should be proactive in finding solutions before more tragic incidents occur.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board encourages people to be more open to discussions regarding gun ownership. People should understand how to operate and use their guns responsibly, and there should be more restrictions on how guns are produced and regulated.

There will never be an end-all solution for this issue. However, it is essential to remember that more guns do not guarantee a safer environment, and Texas’ law makes it easier for people to gain access to firearms.

We can do better to control weapons.

The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Dang Le; Editor-in-Chief Angelica Perez; associate news editor Cole Kembel; Katecey Harrell, life and entertainment editor; design editor Vivian Santillan; news reporter Taylor Coit; and copy editor Jill Bold. Perez and Coit were not present for this editorial decision, and copy desk chief Kylie Burnham filled in.

opinion-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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