In August alone, more than 30 people were killed in Texas in two mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa—the state had a total of 3,513 firearm deaths in 2018. Following the Odessa shooting last weekend, Republican Dan Crenshaw, a freshman Texas congressman, shared a video about a woman who used her gun to defend herself against a group of attackers, and used the story as an argument against universal background checks.
Situations like this story are why we protect the 2nd Amendment. Side note: With universal background checks, I wouldn’t be able to let my friends borrow my handgun when they travel alone like this. We would make felons out of people just for defending themselves.
Crenshaw's comments raised a lot of eyebrows. Houston Chronicle columnist Erica Grieder tweeted, "Do you just lend your handgun to any of your buds who asks to borrow your handgun?" She added, "Seriously: none of my friends have ever asked to borrow my handgun. Is that a thing?" And New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replied to Crenshaw, asking, "You are a member of Congress. Why are you 'lending' guns to people unsupervised who can’t pass a basic background check?"
Crenshaw took particular umbrage at Ocasio-Cortez's remarks, tweeting in response:
Just so I’m clear: you think my friends are domestic abusers/criminals? Seriously that’s your argument? That they can’t pass a background check? Wrong. People lend guns to friends, esp if they don’t own a gun, for self-defense and hunting purposes. This is America outside NYC.
Of course, it was Crenshaw who originally tweeted that the universal background checks would prevent him from letting his buds use his own guns. Ocasio-Cortez pointed that out in her reply, saying, "You said w/ universal background checks, you wouldn’t be able to 'lend' guns to friends. If a background check would be a problem, then you shouldn’t 'lend' a gun. And btw, NY is one of the safest states in the country when it comes to guns, incl rural areas. Try to keep up."
She elaborated: "Domestic abusers can be master manipulators. Plus, domestic abuse is a HUGE indicator for gun violence. That’s why 'vouching for friend' isn’t a substitute for a background check."
Despite the anecdotal evidence of Crenshaw's original tweet, that women need guns for safety, the mere presence of a gun in a home makes homicide and suicide both more likely, and it makes domestic violence much deadlier. Homicide rates for women are higher in states with higher rates of gun ownership, and a University of Tennessee study found that over a two-year period, "more than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance than were murdered by strangers using guns, knives, or any other means."
Many Texas Republicans have weighed in on gun-control measures in response to those shootings. Republican governor Greg Abbott, a staunch gun-rights advocate, even said he'd look into expanding background checks after it came out that the Odessa shooter got his weapon in a private sale that isn't subject to such checks. Other Republicans, though, have made it clear that they don't support taking any action at all. State representative Matt Schaefer, for example, tweeted, "I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period. None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent." He elaborated that he's opposed to universal background checks, though he is an ardent supporter of praying for things to get better. Senator Ted Cruz similarly said he and his wife "are lifting up in prayer all the victims, their families, and the entire Midland-Odessa community."
Regardless, Texas Republicans are out of step with most of America on this issue. According to the Pew Research Center, while there are a number of gun-control policies with bipartisan support, universal background checks is one of the most universally popular: 91 percent of Democratic voters and 79 percent of Republican ones are in favor. And a poll from Quinnipiac University found that 92 percent of Americans support universal background checks, as do 91 percent of gun owners.
The question is no longer "should we arm teachers?" Now, it's "how many armed teachers are already out there?" We flew down to Ohio to embed with the men and women behind FASTER Saves Lives, a group that has trained thousands of teachers from all across the country how to shoot to kill.
Originally Appeared on GQ