Mass shootings return to headlines as Texas Senate approves permitless carry

Posted at 8:57 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 05:47:46-04

BRYAN, TX — The Senate approved House Bill 1927, where Texans will not need a license to carry a handgun. This arrives just off the heels of a violent weekend in Brazos County with multiple incidents involving gun violence.

This month alone, Brazos County is tracking a total of 6 separate incidents involving gun violence.

You would assume that during the pandemic the majority of families quarantined would have decreased the number of mass shootings, but according to the numbers... that was not the case.

”We made the assumption last year as of March and April of last year that ‘thank goodness things should slow down’ there are not as many bars open, not as many clubs open,” said Mark Bryan, the Executive Director of the Gun Violence Archive.

Things in fact did not slow down. According to the Gun Violence Archive numbers, although people were quarantined, shootings continue to rise at a rate of about 15%.

”The concern about gun violence has come back because there has been so many of these high-profile shootings, especially in Texas, where it’s been the epicenter of a lot of these events,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, Political Science Professor at the University of Houston.
“That’s now become something that people are more worried about then they were during much of the pandemic,”

Up until today in 2020, there were a total of 135 mass shootings. This year, there have been 230 so far but experts project this year to cap at a total of about 800.

Despite these numbers, Monday, House Bill 1927 was passed and sent over to Governor Abbott's desk, but for those worried about this bill, local law enforcement shares their are still some restrictions.

”This bill still has where you have to be to be 21 to possess a weapon and to hold a weapon on you and you still have to go through a background investigation. The only thing you’re not having to do is apply for a permit to carry it” said Sergeant Justin Ruiz, Texas Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer.

With many acts of gun violence hitting close to home Sgt. Justin Ruiz encourages community members to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings when in large crowds.

“With some of these shootings going on, you know Bryan-College Station has had more shootings this year in a short span of time," Sgt. Ruiz added.

Just last month, the City of Bryan was put on the map and added alongside the many other headlines with incidents involving mass shootings.

According to Mark Bryant, the executive director of the Gun Violence Archive, last year, was the first time ever that our nation tracked 60 or more mass shootings in a consecutive 5 months span.

This month has already seen 60 incidents with mass shootings across the U.S.

Experts say a mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people shot in a single incident, not including the shooter.

But executive director Bryant's main point when we spoke to him was the bigger issue he had with this topic, which is gun violence as a whole. He says the fear that is being instilled in people to feel comfortable out in public is starting to become an act of terrorism.

“Backing away from mass shootings for a moment, this time last yea,r we had about 6,129 people killed,” Bryant explained.

From this time last year, the nation has seen 1,500 more deaths from gun violence.

Sgt. Ruiz added the top two things you can do when out in public is look for you exit route in case of an emergency or second-best look for a place to hide. Having those two things in mind at all times he suggests is a good habit to get into.