This week’s shooting at Texas A&M-Commerce took the lives of two people. The incident returns a spotlight to the debate over gun control in Texas. A recent poll found that Texans overwhelmingly want background checks for gun purchasers, and are open to so-called red flag laws.
Allie Morris is a legislative reporter with The Dallas Morning News. She says a poll conducted by her newspaper, along with the University of Texas-Tyler, found Texans support gun restrictions, and believe elected officials are not doing enough to prevent shootings. The policy that garnered the most support was background checks prior to a gun purchase, with 86% of bipartisan respondents in favor of implementing the laws.
“What we have found is that background checks is something that lawmakers have been a little reluctant to talk about here in Texas where they have favored loosening restrictions on guns then putting new ones in places,” Morris says.
The poll surveyed 1,169 registered voters, and asked about five different policy ideas. Red flag laws, which allow for the removal of guns from individuals who are be at high risk for violence, were the second-most popular policy among poll respondents, with more than 60% of respondents in favor.
“Support was obviously lower among Republicans but it was a pretty overwhelming majority who supported that change,” Morris says.
Morris says support for these policies corresponded with public attention and debate at the moment the questions were asked. The poll was conducted over several months, and found that support for a gun buyback program, as advocated by former Congressman and presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, decreased in November, during his presidential campaign, and then increased in January.
“We saw support for that actually falter around November which is when Republicans were getting fired [up] about the policy,” Morris says. “When there is an attack on a specific policy support may go down, but after those conclude support may rise again.”
Written by Laura Morales.