September 06, 2023

“Flooded Our Streets with Guns:” Congressman Castro Slams Gov. Abbott’s Dangerous Gun Laws After Five San Antonio Police Officers Are Shot in Two Weeks

SAN ANTONIO — After a fifth San Antonio police officer was shot in less than two weeks, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) released the following statement slamming Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the Republican legislature for their failure to prevent gun violence:

“Over the last eight years, Governor Abbott and Texas Republicans have weakened public safety laws and flooded our streets with guns. The result has been a clear increase in gun violence. Today, violent Texas criminals can easily evade federal background checks and build deadly weapons arsenals to use against police and innocent bystanders. The recent wave of shootings against SAPD officers should be a wake-up call about the dangerous, lawless environment that Texas Republicans have fostered in our state. Law enforcement officers and the public are paying the price for this recklessness,” said Congressman Castro.

Since 2015, the Texas legislature has approved a slew of legislation weakening state gun laws, including a 2016 open carry law and a 2021 open carry expansion that allows most Texans to carry weapons in public spaces without any license, safety training, or background checks. Legislators have also passed recent laws limiting how universities, hotels, and other establishments can restrict guns on their own premises. In the wake of the 2022 Uvalde shooting, the legislature rejected attempts to raise the age for gun purchases and institute state background checks.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearm dealers to conduct background checks prior to the sale of a firearm unless the potential gun purchaser has a state permit to buy or possess firearms. As a result, handgun license holders in Texas are exempt from the federal background check requirement when purchasing a handgun. Texans who have been prohibited from possessing firearms because of a criminal conviction may continue to hold state firearms licenses if the state does not remove their license in a timely manner.

Texas does not require private sellers to conduct background checks. In 2019, the Odessa mass shooter – a convicted criminal – failed a federal background check prior to buying the weapon used in the shooting in a private sale.

Information sourced from the Giffords Law Center.