The state of Texas isn’t known for its smothering gun laws. While it has long held a pro-gun reputation that might have been a tad exaggerated, it’s made some smart moves in recent years, including passing constitutional carry.
Yet things aren’t perfect there. They’re not perfect anywhere, of course, but because parts of Texas are having issues, some are ready to look elsewhere to trip over themselves to blame things like the lack of state gun control laws.
In San Antonio, for example, a number of police officers have been shot, and an aptly named column called “Bad Takes” says that part of the problem is the lack of gun laws.
Since Aug. 24, five San Antonio peace officers have been shot in the line of duty, and although none died, from what research tells us about the statistical relationship between the prevalence of guns and the harm incurred by law enforcement, we have no right to act shocked when our luck runs out.
“If we’re interested in protecting police officers, we need to look at what’s killing them, and what’s killing them is guns,” David Swedler of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health said in 2015.
Police are three times more likely to be murdered on the job in high gun ownership states than in those with low levels of gun ownership, Swedler found in his research.
A separate analysis published last year in Preventive Medicine Reports showed that in states without mandated universal background checks, “for every 1% increase in state-level firearm ownership, there was a 12.4% increase in the odds of a firearm assault on a law enforcement officer.”
Not only does Texas not require private sellers to conduct background checks, Gov. Greg Abbott in 2021 signed a law during a ceremony at the Alamo that allows anyone over the age of 18 to openly carry a firearm without a permit, let alone training. Abbott, who was accompanied by NRA chief Wayne La Pierre at the ceremony, signed that bill over the adamant objections of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and sheriffs across the state.
Except there’s a problem with this argument: Criminals aren’t buying guns lawfully. They’re generally buying or stealing firearms that they then use to shoot people they consider enemies. That includes police officers.
Passing new gun laws sounds like a way to combat this sort of thing, but take the idea of universal background checks for a moment, since the author brought it up. Does he actually think criminals will be stopped from buying guns if law-abiding citizens are going through the same process as an FFL to sell their unwanted firearms?
We don’t see where criminals are having a lot of issues getting guns in universal background check states. California has all the gun laws you could ask for and then some, yet it also has the highest total number of homicides in the nation.
“But what about the increase in gun ownership correlating to more police homicides?”
Well, that’s simple. It’s a prime example of the problem of correlations. Does the increase in private gun ownership lead to an increase in police homicides by firearm, or do more cops being killed lead to more people buying guns?
That’s the question many so-called experts simply refuse to answer because I suspect they know that high crime areas prompt people to buy guns. Gun ownership doesn’t lead to high crime areas, but since crime is used to justify gun laws, they pretend otherwise.
In San Antonio, cops are being shot and since my first understanding of the concept of death came about because of one of my father’s fellow officers being shot and killed in the line of duty, I’m sympathetic to that issue.
Yet the gun laws in Texas impact the entire state. Unless other cities like Houston, for example, are having similar problems, it’s tough to blame statewide gun laws for the issue. It should be noted, however, that homicides are down 22 percent in Houston so far this year.
Of course, this focus on this uptick in the shooting of officers is happening because the violent crime rate as a whole in San Antonio is dropping. Always focus on the negative to push for new gun laws. Don’t acknowledge that maybe they’re not needed.