Gun Issues Violently Resurface Following Festival Shooting


Hadley Norris

Rising concern about firearms policies continue following an unfortunate shooting at this year’s South by South West festival. Photo courtesy of Hadley Norris.


After a two-year pause, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival returned to Austin. However, this re-debut was accompanied by an unfortunate shooting on the last day of the festival. Such violence is not unknown to SXSW, or even Austin as a whole. 

As of Wednesday, Sept. 1, it is legal for anyone over 21 to carry a handgun without a license in Texas. People may openly carry handguns in places such as businesses, recreational centers, or even the Texas State Capital without gun prohibition signs. The continuous lax on gun acquisition contributes to the violence that has been plaguing not only our nation, but within our very own city.

The consequences of low gun restrictions are prevalent, not just with the threat of guns at unsuspecting locations, but also with their accessibility. The individuals investing in weaponry have family and close friends, people who could easily gain access to their guns. While the requirements for permits are already low, these surrounding people have none. The idea of a child being able to grab their parent’s gun is terrifying and an unfortunate reality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun homicides for children and teens increased by 47 percent from 2019 to 2020. Improving gun safety and regulation could restrain these incidents. 

America recently experienced record-breaking numbers; 2020 had the highest number of gun deaths in the nation’s history. Those 45,247 people lost their lives to a weapon that only took 30 seconds to apply for.

Having regulations, such as months-long psychological evaluation checks, would easily decrease gun fatalities. Procedures such as these would severely reduce the chance of granting a weapon to someone with bad intentions. In 2021, around 19.9 million firearms were bought. If guns had a more strenuous process of gaining ownership, that number could decrease in future years.

Mass shootings are an often occurrence, enough so to strike fear into schools and large gatherings. Incidents like SXSW will continue to happen unless we start enacting changes to our gun policies.