FirearmsRestriction in Texas
Inrecent years, America has experienced increased gun-relatedincidents, especially mass shootings and homicides. Publicapprehensions over firearm restrictions have increased with thedebate becoming a great political topic. While some studies show thatgun control is effective in reducing crimes, other show that it isunproductive thus, future explorations should focus on the exactdeterrence level of the regulations. However, restrictive laws ensurethat criminals lack illegal ways to acquire firearms. In evaluatingthe sources of offenders’ firearms, Vittes, Vernick, and Wenbsterconcluded that 30% gun offenders were legal owners, but would havebeen banned from acquiring a gun if their states had restrictive laws(4). Moreover, Vittes et al. uncovered that 96.1% prisoners servingtime for crimes involving a firearm acquired them through ways thatdid not warrant a background check. Texas has one of the leastprohibitive gun laws and given the level of crimes, the state shouldconsider cultivating restrictive firearm regulations. In fact, toprotect its citizens and greatly reduce crime incidences, the statemust ensure stringent firearm management mechanisms. Using crimestatistics and studies, the report highlights the importance ofdeveloping restrictive firearm controls and regulations to reducecrime incidences, domestic violence, homicides, and illegalownership.
Firearmuse remains a significant cause of homicides, suicides, andmassacres. Gun possession and related violence are a persistentpublic health concern for the majority of Americans, especially inTexas. The current Texas’ laws are not prohibitive enough thus,people above 18 years and with a clean record can acquire a gun.According to the Center for American Progress, roughly 25,150 peoplewere murdered between 2002 and 2011 through firearm-relatedincidences (1). In the same period, only 5,323 combat deaths occurredin the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, which shows that the widespreadpossession of guns is positively linked with increased homicides.Moreover, data from the FBI shows that in 2013, Texas had thesecond-highest total homicides related to firearms. During theperiod, Texas had 1,133 murders with 760 guns used to commit thesehomicides (FBI 1). The data illustrates that gun-related homicidesare a leading cause of death in Texas. Furthermore, it is significantto point out that the widespread possession of firearms is linked tosuicides and mass shootings. Recent mass shootings in America haveall been undertaken by assault armaments and high-powered magazines.Guns are usually utilized to commit other crimes, such as, assault,robbery, carjacking, rape, and domestic violence (Monuteaux,Lee, Hemenway, Mannix, and Fleegler 1). Opponents of gun controlsclaim that the gun linked crimes are committed with illegallyacquired guns, but the current research shows that most firearms usedto commit a crime are purchased legally. Vitteset al. posit that offenders prohibited to acquire weapons usuallyobtain them from a licensed dealer by using friends or relatives (5).Thus, sterner firearm ownership laws in Texas would make firearmpossession unlawful for may offenders who use these weapons to commithomicides.
Currently,law obedient residents of Texas (21 years and above) are allowed topurchase and carry a handgun, but they should obtain a license fromthe director (TexasDepartment of Public Safety 5-8). In this regards, individuals mustundertake a criminal background check before they are licensed tocarry a firearm. However, under the existing laws and regulations,establishments selling guns are not required to verify whether buyersare qualified to acquire the weapons (Vittes et al. 1). Theinformation shows that Texas laws are not strict enough to excludecriminals from acquiring guns and usingthem to commit crimes. The Second Amendment on gun possession and theexisting laws offer an avenue for crooks to attack citizens. Theamendment makes it the right of all individuals to own guns, a factthat has resulted into the cultivation of backdoor avenues byoffenders to obtain and utilize guns in crimes. Today, Texasexperiences an unprecedented use of guns to commit crimes, which haswatered water down the civil liberties of individuals. An austere guncontrol policy should be put in place to allow comprehensivebackground checks of people who wish to purchase guns. Furthermore,the policy will allow a concise, and a credible background check onpeople to ensure only authorized people possess guns. A firmrestriction of firearms will allow the state to add specialprerequisites, which would make it difficult for non-law abidingindividuals to acquire guns. A prohibitive regulation would allow theexclusion of people with substantial criminal backgrounds, psychosis,and aforementioned gun convictions.
Controlledgun regulations are needed to reduce the rate of domestic violenceand protect women from stalkers and abusers. Data from the Center forAmerican Progress shows that between 2003 and 2012, Texas had 1080domestic violence incidences against 3,052 homicides of women (1).Moreover, between 2002 and 2011, 1,717 women were killed by the useof a firearm. With a stricter law, offenders of domestic violence andabuse would find it difficult to obtain a gun hence, a reduction inabuse and violence cases. The current laws restrict gun ownership bydomestic violence offender for 5 years after confinement or permanentprohibition for reprobates with protective orders (TexasDepartment of Public Safety 7). However, the regulations are notenough to limit offenders from possessing guns, as the existing lawsdo not explicitly require them to surrender their firearm. Stalkersare not restricted from owning guns hence, the need to develop lawsthat curtail firearm acquisition and possession. By cultivatingstrict laws, the state will make it problematic for individuals toobtain a gun, as well as, ensure that offenders guns are confiscated.The policy will have a long-run effect on the number of gunsavailable by diminishing the sale and purchase. The cultivation of arestrictive law will not only decrease gun-related crimes, but itwill also reduce domestic violence.
Individualswho criticize gun controls assert that criminals will eventually findother weapons to commit crimes, but countries that have strictfirearm controls, for example, Switzerland and the United Kingdomhave experienced reduced crimes and violence. The high level of gunpossession in Texas makes it difficult for police to identify illegaland legal owners, but a stricter regulation would mean few peopleowning guns thus, an easy process in ascertaining owners. Researchshows that Texas has one of the highest rates of firearm possessionand gun-related crimes. The high incidence of ownership illustratesthe need to overhaul the system and develop restrictive regulations.Most opponents of stricter gun controls posit that the armaments arenecessary for protection, but studies show that few individuals usethem in self-defense. Moreover, the high rate of homicides andsuicides in Texas related to guns point to the need for a prohibitivestructure. The regulations would reduce the costs associated withfirearm violence, accidental gun deaths, and mass shootings. A gunregulation mechanism provides a robust system of citizens’ safety.The policy safeguards the liberties and security of the publichence, the state must ensure a stringent gun regulation structure toprotect citizens.
Centerfor American Progress. “Texas Domestic Violence and Guns.” Centerfor American Progress,10 2016.https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CAP-DV-TX.pdf.Accessed 28 October 2016.
Monuteaux,Michael C., Lois K. Lee, David Hemenway, Rebekah Mannix, and Eric W.Fleegler. "Firearm ownership and violent crime in the US: Anecologic study." Americanjournal of preventive medicine 49.2(2015): 207-214.
TexasDepartment of Public Safety. “Texas License to Carry a Handgun Lawsand Selected Statutes 2015-2016.” TexasDepartment of Public Safety,2016. http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/internetforms/forms/chl-16.pdf.Accessed 28 October 2016.
Vittes,Katherine A., Jon S. Vernick, and Daniel W. Webster. "Legalstatus and source of offenders` firearms in states with the leaststringent criteria for gun ownership." InjuryPrevention 19.1(2013): 26-31.