Patrick priority gun bill a slap at Uvalde families

Dan Patrick’s bill to require a 10-year prison sentence without parole for anyone convicted of using a gun to commit a felony isn’t the worst bill to be filed this session. There are many others far more evil. But this measure, Senate Bill 23 and one of Patrick’s priority bills, is a slap in the face to the families who lost loved ones in the Uvalde massacre and other mass shootings.

That’s because Patrick is pushing it to make people think he really cares about gun violence, even though he doesn’t care enough about gun violence to support the type of gun reform laws that could make a difference. Those would be laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, with the goal of preventing deadly crimes, not adding another penalty for someone who commits one.

The Texas Tribune article linked below discusses how criminal justice reform advocates oppose the bill because studies have shown that mandatory minimum prison sentences do little to reduce violent crime.

Had this law been on the books a year ago, it would have done absolutely nothing to deter the 18-year-old Uvalde shooter from killing 19 elementary students and two of their teachers. Had the shooter survived, he could have – and probably would have – faced the death penalty. He knew that and still shot up the school. A mandatory 10-year prison sentence would have been meaningless.

If Patrick really wants to do something that may keep another 18-year-old from legally purchasing an assault-style rifle and attacking another school, he would make a priority of enacting a law to raise the legal age for purchasing assault rifles from 18 to 21, which he adamantly refuses to do.

“In Texas, we deeply respect the Second Amendment, but we will not tolerate violent criminals terrorizing our communities. Enough is enough,” said Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, who is sponsoring the bill.

Tough words, but when are Huffman, Patrick and their allies going to put them into action?

Texas bill requiring 10-year prison sentences for gun felonies faces opposition from criminal justice and firearm advocates

Clay Robison


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