Democrats in Texas are using a fatal shooting in Austin to encourage Gov. Greg Abbott to veto legislation allowing permitless carry of firearms in the state, but a look at the suspects in that incident shows a significant disconnect between politics and reality.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, 13 people were wounded and one New York tourist was killed in the June 11 shooting.
The legislation would allow people over the age of 21 who can legally have a gun in Texas to carry it without a permit. But the suspects are both well under that age. One is 17 and the other was described by the newspaper as “a juvenile.” They were already armed in violation of state statute, and couldn’t legally carry even if the permitless statute was in effect.
That fact didn’t stop State Rep. Vikki Goodwin, an Austin Democrat, from trying to use the incident to discourage Abbot from signing the measure, which he previously promised to do.
As Austin recovers from a senseless mass shooting leaving 1 dead & 13 injured, the permitless carry bill sits on Gov. Abbott's desk awaiting his signature. Today I sent a letter asking him to veto the bill, as it will only serve to perpetuate mass gun violence in TX. #txlege pic.twitter.com/JmD5qOFy9F
— Rep. Vikki Goodwin (@VikkiGoodwinTX) June 14, 2021
In a letter to the governor, Goodwin wrote, “We cannot ignore the pattern of gun violence that we have seen again and again…While I realize that laws cannot singlehandedly keep guns out of the wrong hands, I also understand that they improve boundaries, create order and set a tone. We need you, as our governor, to send the message that we are addressing mass gun violence in Texas.”
In the same paragraph, Goodwin acknowledges, “Yes, criminals will break the law.”
The newspaper said Gov. Abbott has until Sunday to sign the bill. If he takes no action, the legislation “will automatically become law without his signature,” the newspaper said.
Another Austin Democrat, State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, released a statement in which she asserted, “For years, Texans have endured empty promises and pointless roundtables, while legislative session after legislative session produce more and more dangerous, unregulated gun laws.”
Here's my whole statement on last night's senseless act of gun violence: pic.twitter.com/Y2cF5qvgpE
— Sarah Eckhardt (@sarah_eckhardt) June 12, 2021
The important facts of this story are being overwhelmed by rhetoric from anti-gunners who simply do not want to see the state join the ranks of other states where permits are not required for carrying firearms in public. Critics of the legislation steadfastly ignore the fact that both suspects so far rounded up would not be legally able to carry, anyway because they are underage. As it was, they illegally possessed the gun(s) used in the June 11 shooting incident.
Spectrum News quoted a Republican lawmaker putting the shooting and the ongoing debate into perspective.
“It’s preposterously improbably that the gun law has anything to do with the shooting because it’s simply not signed into law yet,” State Sen. Paul Bettencourt observed.