Recently Passed Gun Measures in the US and Texas

Gun rights continue to be one of the most important topics of the current age, as debate ensues on the right way to protect the second amendment and decrease gun violence.

Gun violence is a prominent issue in the US. Unfortunately, 2020 was a record-breaking year for gun-related deaths in the US. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, gun violence killed nearly 20,000 Americans in 2020. Besides deaths caused by gun violence, 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun.

Moreover, gun violence is quite a problem in Texas. In 2020, Texas reported 34 mass shootings. The 34 mass shootings are an increase from the 30 mass shootings that occurred in 2019. These 34 mass shootings killed 37 people and injured 124 people. In 2019, mass shootings resulted in the deaths of 73 people and the injuries of 142 people. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2019, firearms caused 3,683 deaths in Texas, and the number has only been increasing.

So, what is the government doing? Well, on June 23, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a strategy to prevent and respond to gun crime and ensure public safety. According to the White House, “President Biden believes that the surge in gun violence that has affected communities across the country over the last year and a half is unacceptable, and his Administration is moving decisively to act with a whole-of-government approach as we enter the summer months when cities typically experience a spike in violence.”

As released in the fact sheet, the comprehensive strategy will:

  • Stem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including by holding rogue firearms dealers accountable for violating federal laws;
  • Support local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to help address summer violent crime;
  • Invest in evidence-based community violence interventions;
  • Expand summer programming, employment opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults; and
  • Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities.

To stem the flow of firearms used to commit violence, the government has decided that there will be zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that purposefully violate the law. Furthermore, the government is maximizing the efficacy of ATF, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, resources to crack down on such gun dealers. The government will also be launching strike forces to stop the illegal flow of firearms across state lines, and the government will be working to stem the rapid increase of homemade arms and modified arms. The public will be more informed by the ATF from now on to promote transparency, as well.

Based on the White House, “The President continues to call on Congress to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which gives gun dealers and manufacturers special immunity from certain liability for their products. In the meantime, the White House will convene state legislators and Attorneys General to discuss strategies for” holding dealers and manufacturers accountable for improper conduct not covered by PLCAA through employing state liability laws.

Currently, the government is working to provide law enforcement the tools and resources needed to tackle gun violence. The Treasury Department is working to guide communities through using ARP, American Rescue Plan, funds to reduce gun violence. Moreover, the White House has announced that “applications for the Justice Department’s FY21 $276 million Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program are open now.”

Furthermore, there are plans to invest more in evidence-based community violence interactions, as they “have been shown to reduce violence by as much as 60%.” “The President (has announced) that the Administration will convene and support a CVI Collaborative of 15 jurisdictions that are committing to use a portion of their ARP funding or other public funding to increase investment in their CVI infrastructure, including to anticipate and respond to the potential rise in violence this summer.” One of the fifteen jurisdictions is Austin, Texas. “Over the next 18 months, the Administration will convene meetings with officials from these communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning, and provide technical assistance … A group of philanthropies that have been leaders on this issue will support this collaborative learning network by deploying CVI experts to provide training and technical assistance, identify best practices, integrate proven and innovative public-health approaches, and help local community-based organizations scale CVI efforts this summer and beyond.” According to the White House, the Biden-Harris Administration has also convened the first CVI Webinar series event on June 23. The administration is continuing to seek a $5.2 billion investment in new grant funding for CVI programs through the American Jobs Plan and its FY22 discretionary budget request and executing on its announced changes to 26 programs across five agencies to make federal dollars and technical assistance available to CVI practitioners in the immediate term. 

To help expand summer programming, employment opportunities, and other services and supports, especially for teenagers and young adults, the President urges jurisdictions to use American Rescue Plan funds with guidance from the Department of Treasury and Department of Education and Youth Workforce Development funds. According to the White House, on June 10, the Department of Labor awarded $89 million through its YouthBuild program to provide pre-apprenticeship opportunities for young people (ages 16-24) and awarded $20 million through its Workforce Pathways for Youth program to expand workforce development activities that serve youth (ages 14-21) during non-school hours, as “youth employment programs, including summer jobs programs, can reduce (young people’s) involvement in violence by as much as 35% or 45%.”

To help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities, the government has taken part in making “investments to help formerly incarcerated individuals find quality jobs.” The Office of Personnel Management is deciding whether the federal government should take further action to dissolve the barriers formerly incarcerated people face in accessing federal employment. Such action could include creating a “Schedule A” excepted service hiring authority for formerly incarcerated people. “OPM will also publish proposed regulations to implement the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2019’s “ban the box” policy.” In addition, “the Department of Justice plans to post an application next month for a formerly incarcerated individual to work at DOJ as a Second Chance Act visiting fellow”, and “the Department of Labor and Department of the Treasury will help employers leverage the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC).” On June 23, “HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge issue(ed) a letter outlining actions that HUD is taking to improve public safety by addressing the housing needs of returning citizens, including through the recently awarded 70,000 emergency housing vouchers funded by the American Rescue Plan.”

As for the Texas government, Governor Greg Abbott signed seven bills regarding gun rights into law on June 17. 2021. Below, I have included the descriptions of the bills as provided in the press release.

  • Senate Bill 20 (Campbell/Hefner) allows guests to store firearms in their hotel rooms. 
  • Senate Bill 550 (Springer/Spiller) removes the shoulder or belt holster requirements, allowing Texans to carry firearms in whatever kind of holster they choose. 
  • House Bill 957 (Oliverson/Springer) repeals the criminal offense of possessing, manufacturing, transporting or repairing a firearm silencer. It also ensures that any firearm suppressor manufactured in Texas, and that remains in Texas, will not be subject to federal law or federal regulation. 
  • House Bill 1500 (Hefner/Creighton) prevents any government entity from prohibiting the sale or transportation of firearms or ammunition during a declared disaster or emergency. 
  • House Bill 1927 (Schaefer/Schwertner) authorizes Constitutional Carry in Texas, meaning law-abiding Texans can legally carry a handgun without a license to carry. 
  • House Bill 2622 (Holland/Hall) makes Texas a Second Amendment Sanctuary State by protecting Texans from new federal gun control regulations.

Only the future can tell how the government’s strategy to prevent gun violence and the seven pieces of legislation protecting the second amendment in Texas signed by Governor Greg Abbott will work together. I hope this article has helped you learn more about the recently passed gun measures. Thank you for reading, and stay safe!

Works Cited:

“Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Comprehensive Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gun Crime and Ensure Public Safety.” The White House, The United States Government, 23 June 2021,

“Governor Abbott Signs Second Amendment Legislation Into Law.” Office of the Governor | Greg Abbott,