A Close Look at Gun Laws in Texas and Ohio

A Close Look at Gun Laws in Texas and Ohio

08.12.19
A memorial in El Paso, Texas set up after the mass shooting there on August 3, 2019. (Photo: Antonio Villaseñor-Baca/YR Media)
08.12.19

In less than 24 hours, 31 people lost their lives in two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

On the morning of August 3, 2019, a 21-year-old gunman took 22 lives and injured 26 others at a Walmart in El Paso, located five miles from the Mexican border. Prior to the attack, the Texas shooter published a white supremacist manifesto. In it, he expressed hate against immigrants, Latinos, and both the Democrat and Republican parties.

And within a day of the El Paso attack, a shooting in Dayton left nine people dead and 27 injured in the city’s nightclub district. Though the majority of lives lost in the shooting were black, law enforcement is not, as of now, calling the attack racially motivated.

YR Media reporter Emiliano Villa took a look at gun access in Texas and Ohio. Here’s what you need to know about these states’ gun laws.

Both are “shall-issue” states.

This means that anyone can get a gun if they pass the state’s basic requirements, such as reaching the legal age and having no felony background. In Texas and Ohio, you can buy a firearm at 18 but must be 21 to purchase a handgun. 

Both Texas and Ohio allow concealed and open-carry.

Both states require people to apply for a concealed carry permit. One must demonstrate they have knowledge of safety in carrying and using a gun. 

Gun control advocates have pointed out a loophole in both Texas and Ohio.

Gun buyers who are purchasing from a private individual do not have to pass a background check. 

Minors can have and use a gun.

There is no minimum age to possess a gun in either Texas or Ohio. So while a teenager or child can’t buy a gun, they can, under the right conditions, legally be given one by an adult.

Still, there’s a catch…

In Texas, adults are criminally liable for gun activity by minors.

The Texas penal code holds adults responsible if a minor gains access to a “readily dischargeable firearm” (i.e. one that is loaded) and fires it. The penalties are even stiffer if a person is shot by the minor. This means that adults can be held liable for something like a school shooting by a minor, if it can be proven that they were criminally negligent with regard to that minor’s access to weapons.

For more on Texas gun laws, see YR Media’s first report on this issue, following the 2018 Santa Fe, Texas school shooting. 

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