Gun Laws Changing and Not For the Better

Iveth Vanegas, Reporter

Following a devastating shooting in Odessa, Texas, the state government passed new gun control laws that loosen restrictions on guns in certain places. Beginning Sept. 1, limitations on guns in schools, churches and private properties are prohibited. Some of these laws include removing schools’ ability to regulate storage of firearms on school property and permitting firearms in places of worship. Gun laws should be strengthened rather than allowed, because by loosening the restrictions, guns are easily accessible and pose a threat in places that should make us feel safe.

For example, guns are now allowed in places of worship and before they were not. Churches are now considered the same as other private properties, which means they follow the same regulations and rules. Now, notice must be given to the church if someone is carrying their firearm on property. This contradicts the idea of what churches represent. Churches should be somewhere where violent is banned due to the sacredness held in churches. By allowing guns in churches, that safety and security is taken away.

Schools can no longer regulate students’ storage of firearms in their vehicles in the school parking lot. Students who are licensed to own a gun are authorized to transport or store it in a locked, privately owned vehicle in a parking lot, and school districts may not prohibit them. Although this law was intended to make students feel safe at school, the opposite effect occurs. According to Giffords Law Center, an organization dedicated to preventing gun violence, school-associated student homicide rates decreased after federal laws restricted guns on school property. In the early 1900s, guns were not allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, which resulted in fewer students carrying guns.

While there have been laws loosening gun regulations, companies have taken it upon themselves to restrict gun use in their stores. As of Sept. 1, Walmart has banned open carrying of guns in its stores and have stopped selling ammunition in stores worldwide. This is meant to provide more safety to employees and customers after multiple shootings have taken place in their stores. On August 3, a shooting in El Paso, Texas ended in 22 people dying and left 25 injured. According to Business Insider, an American financial and business news website, store managers may ask the customers to leave if they are openly carrying a gun in the store and customers are to safely store their gun in their vehicle before entering.

While Texas has been attempting to reduce the number of shootings by weakening gun laws, there is a more efficient way to restrict them that many Americans agree with. A poll by NBC-News Wall Street, a news division of the American broadcast network NBC, revealed that 86 percent of Americans favor expanded background checks for gun purchases and 76 percent support “red flag” laws that would deny guns to people who are identified as dangerous by the police or family members.

Restricting gun laws would provide everyone with safety and security. While Texas believes loosening our laws will make us feel safe, it has the opposite effect. We should feel safe in schools, churches and even stores. Restricting gun laws provides that to us. Walmart has taken the right step in the direction by prohibiting firearms in their stores, and Texas should consider following what Walmart has done rather than passing more laws that promote gun use.