El Paso Leaders Claim They Were Betrayed. They Weren't

AP Photo/Andres Leighton

It’s been two years since the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas left 23 people dead and another 23 injured.

In the wake of that shooting, like many others, there was a lot of talk about how to prevent that from happening again. In the aftermath, a lot of stuff was talked about along those lines.

However, things didn’t pan out like some thought they should. Now, they’re upset and feeling betrayed.

But two years after the attack, some of the conditions that led to the shooting remain entrenched; violence by extremist groups is on the rise according to the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice; and rhetoric describing migrants as criminals and invaders is now espoused by Texas’ Republican leadership, including Abbott.

And in what some call an affront to the victims’ families, Texas Republicans expanded gun rights earlier this year when the state Legislature passed a permitless carry bill. Beginning in September, Texans will be allowed to carry a handgun without a permit or training. Abbott supported what he called the “constitutional carry” bill and signed it into law.

I hate to break it to some of these people, but permitless carry may do more to make such shootings less likely to happen. If more people can carry without jumping through hoops–and Texas had hoops, make no mistake–then they’re more likely to carry. More guns in the hands of good people mean more chances of bad people being stopped.

While I get the concerns about rhetoric, it’s important to remember that taking issue with illegal immigration doesn’t come close to believing such an atrocity was justified. Far from it.

Of course, some people won’t see it that way.

None of that matters, though. While El Paso leaders may feel they’ve been let down and betrayed, the truth is that Texas has done more to make the city safer than any anti-gun agenda would have. Disarming law-abiding citizens isn’t the answer. It’s never the answer.

Yet permitless carry may well be the key to stopping something like this from happening again. Their paranoia and fear don’t change that reality.

They weren’t betrayed. Instead, El Paso got the measure it needed, not necessarily the ones it wanted. That’s a good thing, too, because what they wanted would made the public both less safe and less free.