Guns should protect, not kill: US, Texas laws require reevaluation

By Kassidy Tsikitas | Photo Editor

Only four months into the year, America has had an estimated 143 shootings. That means so far in 2024, there have been more shootings than days.

According to federal law, licensed dealers cannot sell a firearm to anyone under 18, and they cannot sell a shotgun or rifle to anyone under 21. Texas residents under 18 cannot purchase a firearm, and Texas residents under 21 cannot purchase a handgun.

As of Dec. 31, 2023, Giffords Law Center posted under background check procedures that “Texas is not a point of contact state for the NICS. Texas has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. As a result, in Texas, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.”

There was also an important note that stated that “people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state firearms licenses if the state fails to remove these licenses in a timely fashion.”

The Texas State Law Library further explains that as of 2021, Texas residents don’t need a license to carry, but different rules apply when a person is around schools, businesses and private properties.

In the state of Texas, there are different categories for selling guns. One category is private sellers at gun shows. A document from the Houston Texas Government talks about the loophole of guns being bought at the shows, which can play a part in increasing the likelihood of shootings such as that in Columbine, Colo.

The document specifies that “As an unlicensed seller, that individual or vendor is not required to keep records of sales and is not required to perform background checks.”

Federal background checks were mandated in 1994, but background checks for private sellers are not required. According to Giffords Law Center, “Over 3 million people legally prohibited from possessing a gun have been stopped from purchasing a gun or denied a permit to purchase. More than 35% of these denials involved people convicted of felony offenses.”

One major thing Texas is failing to follow through with is making legislation for gun control. A 2022 article from the Texas Tribune quoted Gov. Greg Abbott saying gun laws being sought out because of the impact of the shooting in Uvalde were ruled unconstitutional.

This makes me question the safety of where I attend school, no matter what state I am in.

My first experience with noticing some people are sick enough to use a gun on other people was the shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The day after it happened, there were multiple news stations airing the aftermath of the shooting. All I saw were the frightened faces of children my age — some the victims. Seeing how easily something this horrific can happen changed my perspective on gun control forever.

People who say things like “this stuff happens” don’t fully understand what families of both parties go through after a tragedy like having a loved one killed in a shooting. We, as a country and society, need to improve our laws and background checks not only for future generations but also for victims of all the major and minor shootings that have happened.

As a result of mass shootings like that at Sandy Hook Elementary, the Sandy Hook Promise was formed to educate and prevent more mass shootings.

If we are able to make a direct impact with organizations like this one, then we should be able to grow as a country. A better future for our younger siblings and future children calls for stricter gun laws. I want a safe future for my little sister, who is still elementary-age. Stricter gun laws will unite our country. Do it for yourself and others.

Kassidy Tsikitas is a junior journalism major from New Jersey and a minor in film and digital media. In her third semester at the Lariat, she is excited to take on the role of Photo Editor. In her time here, she has learned the written and visual parts of a newspaper. She is most excited to take on a leadership role and learn new things.