Posted March 21, 2018 | General Personal Injury
Recent gun tragedies have left the country in shock. The United States, once again, must consider our position on gun legislation. Passionate advocates of gun rights and people who are fiercely opposed to any changes are looking for common ground, but they’ve found it difficult to agree. Amidst all this controversy, gun owners are wondering how this new motivation is going to affect them.
More than 1.2 million Texans hold concealed handgun permits. As a state that is overwhelmingly supportive of gun rights, the current conversation about gun legislation is a prevalent concern for many Texas residents.
Texas lawmakers generally support looser gun laws instead of stricter ones, even after incidents of gun violence. In September, a new law in Texas reduced the fees for owning a handgun from $140 to $40. Texas law only requires people to have a gun permit if they want to carry a handgun. Ken Paxton, the Attorney General, has stated that he believes the country should allow guns even in churches.
Stand Your Ground is a law that gives people the legal right to use deadly force to protect themselves and their property, and some consider a weapon necessary to protect themselves or their property. Texas residents may purchase gun accessories and ammunition in neighboring states.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Texas is home to the largest number of businesses that have a license to sell guns. They have 5,000 firearms dealers – twice the number of the state with the second highest number of firearms dealers.
The first thing that Congress is talking about in the wake of everything that has happened is creating a bill called the Fix NICS Act that would strengthen rules around national background checks. Agencies continuously fail to report criminal records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Fix NICS Act would intensify this enforcement.
In 2013, Senators Toomey and Manchin proposed a bill that would expand the background check system for gun sales to gun shows. It failed initially but may come back this year. Under current United States law, only licensed gun dealers are required to do background checks before selling. Unofficial sales between family members, friends, and at gun shows are not monitored. The Toomey-Manchin proposal would require background checks for gun shows but leave unofficial sales between friends and family untouched.
Some senators are discussing raising the age requirement necessary to buy an AR-15 rifle from 18 to 21, unless you are in the military. Current federal law prohibits anyone under 21 from buying a handgun but allows people eight years of age to buy a rifle. President Trump initially showed support for raising the age, but the NRA adamantly opposes this change, arguing that it would be depriving people between the ages of 18 and 21 of their constitutional right to protect themselves.
There is also talk of banning bump stocks, a device that allows people to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully-automatic one. Authorities say that the Las Vegas shooter used bump stocks when he opened fire at an outdoor concert last October. For the most part, the U.S. has banned fully-automatic weapons, but bump stocks provide a way around that legislation.
Congress is trying to pass bills that would enhance and improve previous laws instead of creating new ones, believing that narrow gun control legislation will be the most likely way to get regulations through. Unfortunately, people fail to report extensive amounts of required information or fail to upload it to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and the bills that Congress are about preventing important information from slipping through and tightening up already existing gun measures.