Shootings in West Texas, U.S. Prompt Locals to Talk Gun Laws

Shootings in West Texas, U.S. Prompt Locals to Talk Gun Laws

by Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS - Texas has always been into their guns but the fad seems to have gotten even bigger.

According to the Associated Press, Texas has 580,000 concealed-carry permit holders and about 26 percent of those were issued just last year.

After national tragedies, President Obama is pushing to pass stalled gun legislation that would prevent certain people from being able to get guns.

In early 2013, the Senate failed to pass legislation calling for expanded background checks for interested gun carriers. But after mass shootings in Washington and Chicago last week, the president is trying to refuel the discussion in Washington.

That conversation applies to our region too. NewsWest 9 has reported on at least three shootings in the Permian Basin since the weekend. Gun owners have seen trends in sales.

According to Gaylene Stansbery, owner of Defensive Solutions Gun Shop in Midland, the holiday seasons and the start of school also prompt good business and events like the shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook get people waiting to buy guns in lines extending outside.

"As soon as the officials in Washington even talk about restricting anything, that's when it cues people to go out and buy those things," she said.

"I have no problem with them making it harder for dangerous people to get guns but they seem to be making it harder for everybody to get guns," David Arnold, an avid gun collector in Odessa, said. 

According to him, "If you want a gun in Midland or Odessa, you can get a gun- legally or illegally, you can get one."

Some people think passing such a law would counteract its purpose.

"Whereas we would have the firearms taken away from us or make it more difficult to get for the normal public, the criminals are going to be able to have access to those because they have a way to buy it on the black market," Midland resident, Shawna Harrison, said. 

But those criminals wouldn't even have to rely on the black market because Texas doesn't have a law that restricts someone from selling guns from a personal collection to others. Getting a concealed carry permit is a bit harder. State and national agencies verify the information there.

"They're gonna check everything out from the last several years to make sure there is nothing on that record, they're gonna have a clean record before they're going to issue that concealed carry permit," Stansbery said.

But loopholes exist there too. Under a state law, you don't need to have a permit to buy, own or even possess a weapon. And with the castle doctrine, you can use the firearm on your own property to defend yourself from a threat.

Midland Mother, Agada Rodriguez, said that the bigger cause for concern is that more people having guns, means there's more of a chance that it will get stolen and/or go to the wrong hands, including her kids.

"I'm just kinda scared that it would be one of my family members that would end up getting shot, so I hope that it does, that they do get this to go through," Rodriguez said.