The rampage killing in Odessa, Texas marred what should have been a holiday weekend. It was also the second mass shooting within a month for the state of Texas. While Texas isn’t exactly a small state, that’s still got to be troubling for anyone in office there. To be sure, people are going to expect answers and expect lawmakers to do something, anything, to end these deadly attacks.
Governor Greg Abbot noted that apparently, the killer didn’t undergo a background check for the weapon he used after previously failing a gun purchase background check.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday lamented that the gunman in the Odessa rampage that left seven dead had once failed a background check for purchasing firearms.
“Not only did the Odessa gunman have a criminal history … he also previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas,” the Republican governor said in tweet. “(And) he didn’t go thru a background check for the gun he used in Odessa. “
“We must keep guns out of criminals’ hands.”
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for further explanation of his Tweet
Now, what we know about the killer is that he had two misdemeanor arrests in the past, but neither should have barred him from purchasing a firearm. He’d been busted for criminal trespass and evading arrest and received two years probation on those charges, so it sounds like something is missing here.
Now, the Sutherland Spring shooter from almost two years ago should never have passed a background check, but did. However, as noted, that was two years ago. There’s no chance that Abbott confused the two. If this had been Joe Biden, sure, but not Abbott.
However, let’s look at this on its face value and assume that Abbott has access to some information about the killer that we don’t for some reason. What does this mean for the gun debate?
Well, it would suggest that the killer got his gun via a face-to-face transfer which is legal in Texas. That means it’s likely we’ll see an uptick in support for universal background checks. Of course, anti-gunners love them already, but this might be enough to sway a lot of ostensibly pro-gun people to consider them as a measure to try and combat mass shootings.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that the killer actually stole the weapon in the first place. That would undermine the universal background check arguments–after all, what good does a background check do when the bad guy is stealing a gun–but it would ramp up the talk of banning AR-15s. That conversation is going to happen anyway, though, considering that’s what the killer used in his rampage.
My hope is that Governor Abbott will explain his tweet at some point today so we’ll have a clue what he’s actually talking about. That would certainly help us to understand and adjust arguments accordingly. More importantly, though, it may help us understand just what happened and how we can all work to prevent such atrocities from taking place on American streets.