Texas state Rep. Jared Patterson (R) was condemned online Sunday for using a deadly shooting in Austin to promote legislation that would allow Texans to carry guns without a license.
Three people were shot and killed at an apartment complex in northern Austin. A manhunt was underway late Sunday night for the suspect, a former sheriff’s deputy named Stephen Broderick, 41, who resigned in June after being charged with sexual assault of a child.
Patterson was referring to a bill approved by the state House Thursday that would nix the requirement for Texas residents to have a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm. Currently, Texans must have a license for concealed and open carry of a handgun, a process that requires ID, submission of fingerprints for criminal background checks and proof of training.
The House’s decision came despite pleas for tighter gun safety laws following a string of mass shootings across the country, including one in Indianapolis Thursday night that left eight people dead at a FedEx facility. The gunman purchased his assault rifles legally, even though he was flagged by the FBI following a disturbing warning from his mother.
There have been four mass shootings in Texas this month.
The fate of the bill now lies with the state Senate and Gov. Dan Patrick (R), who has expressed hesitancy over the measure in the past. Democrats and others opposing the legislation have been pushing for stronger gun safety laws in the state following the 2019 mass shootings in El Paso and Midland-Odessa that left 23 dead and eight people dead, respectively.
Patterson’s tweet prompted a flood of outrage and gun violence statistics:
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