Why Midland-Odessa Shooting Shouldn't Impact Gun Laws

It’s been a year since the Midland-Odessa shooting spree in Texas. It feels like longer, though. After all, there’s been a lot going on since that happened, unfortunately.

As is normal for the anniversary of a mass shooting, some are wondering if there will be any change to gun laws because of what transpired that day.

A year after her brother was killed in a Midland-Odessa shooting spree, Carla Byrne is still waiting for stricter background checks on the purchase of guns.

The man who killed her brother and six others in the August 2019 mass shooting obtained the weapon through a private sale, despite having previously failed a background check, according to reports at the time. 

“My brother (Joseph Griffith) had a life that was stolen from him, but I know with 100% certainty that I cannot … sit idly by and just be sad,” said Byrne. “I can’t watch on the news any more kids being killed in schools. Any more people being slaughtered in churches and synagogues.”

Byrne is one in a coalition of people across the state calling for stricter gun laws in Texas and the country in the aftermath of mass shootings, including the one in Midland-Odessa a year ago. The push is sure to face an uphill climb in the state that has resisted gun safety measures in the past.

I understand how Byrne feels as much as anyone can. I honestly do.

But there are some things she needs to understand about her brother’s murder. Namely that background checks, which is what this particular article is pushing for, wouldn’t have done a damn thing.

See, while the shooter couldn’t legally purchase a firearm and bought it during a face-to-face transfer, there’s not any real reason to believe a background check law would have had any kind of an impact. See, the gun he purchased was reportedly sold to him by someone who was manufacturing firearms illegally. Allegedly.

Anyway, if that’s true, why would someone making guns illegally not sell them illegally as well? While you can man firearms for your own use, you can’t build them with the intent to sell them without proper licensing, which this individual apparently lacked. Worse, he probably knew it was illegal as well, which means he wasn’t about to create a record by going through the ATF paperwork if he could avoid it.

No, such a person would have sold the gun just like he did regardless of the law.

Meanwhile, though, such a background check law suddenly makes it more difficult to loan a gun to a friend, give one as a gift, pass one down as part of an estate, and a myriad of other situations, which is why they’ve been defeated when placed before the people to vote on.

While I have sympathy for Byrne and her loss, that doesn’t change the fact that what she is seemingly pushing for wouldn’t do a damn thing to bring her brother back, nor would such a law have prevented his death.