Opinion: 126 days, 199 mass shootings

Gun laws in Texas need to be reformed


May 6 marked the 126th day of 2023 and the 199th mass shooting of 2023. On this day, a mass shooting took place at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, leaving at least nine dead – including the suspect – and seven injured.

May 6 marked the 126th day of 2023 and the 199th mass shooting of 2023. 

On this day, a mass shooting took place at the Allen Premium Outlets in Allen, Texas, leaving at least nine dead – including the suspect – and seven injured. The ages of those injured range from 3 to 61 years old. 

According to the Gun Control Act (GCA), in the state of Texas you must be at least 18 years of age to buy a firearm, which is also the same age you must be to purchase aerosol paint and a lottery ticket. Adolescent brains don’t finish developing until a person’s mid-to-late twenties; though, as American citizens, we have the right to purchase a firearm, regardless of our mental readiness.

In the state of Texas, there is no waiting period to obtain a gun, though it takes weeks to obtain health insurance. I find it bizarre that it’s easier to take lives in this state rather than make efforts to save them. In 2021, Texas residents purchased over 1.6 million guns, which equals one gun for every 14 adults. 

While being completely aware of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and how, as an American citizen, it is our “individual right” to arm ourselves, the Constitution also states the importance of ensuring domestic tranquility – peace within our country – yet the lack of gun laws seems to be doing the exact opposite. 

In this year alone, Texas has had 17 mass shootings, 10 of which had a suspect either arrested or killed, and the rest have had no trace of justice. If people as young as 18 didn’t have access to guns as easily as they do, it’s possible that over 54 lives could’ve been saved. There have been shooters as young as 17 years old, though, in the state of Texas, you aren’t considered an adult until the age of 18 unless seen so by the eyes of the state, therefore our state is allowing minors to have access to guns and that is a direct sign that something needs to change. 

Guns like the AK-47 and other assault rifles were involved in wars that had over hundreds of thousands of casualties, and are now the very same weapons that any Texas citizen, 18 years or older, may buy after a quick background check. There are many things that do not have the ability to end lives that are more difficult to buy than a gun. For example, Kylie Jenner’s coveted lip shades that sell out in minutes and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour tickets that required various steps of preparation to purchase, versus the close to 15,000 gun stores in America. 

The state of Texas is in the top five for most mass shootings in the country, as well as the most mass shooting deaths and most school shootings. However, it is last for the number of mental health providers. The fact that 70% of Texas counties have more gun dealers than mental health providers says a lot about the state’s priorities. 

In our society, shootings have become a normalized occurrence. A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more people – excluding the shooter – are shot and wounded or killed. The word of mass shootings is able to reach the world through social media and public interest, but 99% of shooting incidents don’t fit that description, so they don’t get the same acknowledgement. 

This world lives in a constant cycle: a mass shooting occurs, people offer their thoughts and prayers and we move on. Imagine how it feels to be the family of those whose lives were lost; to know that someone you loved is now viewed as a statistic, rather than a human being. The thoughts and prayers we’ve been offering for years aren’t stopping these mass shootings from occurring. We need policies to change. 

As a society and the people of this state, we don’t make the final call, though we can still make the first one. Gun laws in Texas need to be reformed. I urge you to speak up, repost on social media, do your research and reach out to your representatives. Though it is basically impossible to change the people in society, as those people, we can make a difference that can lead us to live in a world where kids make it past kindergarten, teenagers make it to college and adults get to experience life. We’re always campaigning about “living life to the fullest,” but we need a world where people can live first. America is said to be the “land of the free,” but to get to that, it needs to be the land of the living first.