This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — “Horrific” is one of the ways leaders nationwide characterized a deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday. And, in addition to prayers and comments on the tragedy, Democratic lawmakers also called for changes as details of what happened began to unfold.
“The moment to stop Uvalde was right after Sandy Hook. After Santa Fe High. After El Paso,” Tweeted Beto O’Rourke, who paused a presidential campaign back in 2019 when a shooter opened fire in a Walmart in his hometown.
Each time a mass shooting happens, similar calls ring out. Here’s a look at what has happened after shootings that garnered nationwide attention.
After Sandy Hook
In 2012, a 20-year-old walked into a Connecticut elementary school and opened fire, killing 20 first-graders and six educators.
Congress introduced several gun-control measures immediately following the Sandy Hook massacre. All failed. Among the proposals were an assault weapons ban and criminal background checks for guns sold over the internet or gun shows. The NRA at the time also advocated for putting armed guards into schools.
On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who represents Sandy Hook, took to the floor to implore his colleagues to pass legislation to address gun violence.
“I’m here on this floor to beg — to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely,” he said.
After Las Vegas, Parkland
The year 2018 saw another mass shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. The year before, a gunman had also shot and killed 61 people at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.
President Donald Trump urged the Justice Department to ban devices like the one the Las Vegas shooter used: bump stocks which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire without stopping. A ban took effect in 2019.
Texas changes after Santa Fe
After a 17-year-old killed 10 people in Santa Fe, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott called for a series of roundtables and laid out extensive school safety plan recommendations. Lawmakers also passed bills in response, including requiring school districts to set up “threat assessment teams” of people trained to spot red flags and creating a Texas Child Mental Health consortium.
Texas 2021 gun laws
In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a number of bills into law surrounding guns. As of August, Texans older than 21 were allowed to carry a handgun in public without a permit under House Bill 1927. There are exceptions for felons and those younger than that, and buyers still need to pass a gun store background check. Below are other laws that went into effect:
- Senate Bill 19: Creates a prohibition on contracts with companies that discriminate against the firearm and ammunition industry
- Senate Bill 20: Allows hotel guests to have guns and ammunition in their rooms
- Senate Bill 550: Permits a person to carry a gun in any type of holster
- House Bill 957: Exempts suppressors made in Texas from federal regulations
- House Bill 1500: Makes firearms and ammunition sellers and manufacturers essential businesses
- House Bill 2622: Creates a “Second Amendment Sanctuary State” in Texas