A new law that will enable people in Texas who are 21 or older to carry a handgun without a permit and background check could backfire, says James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern and one of the nation’s leading researchers on mass murder. The rationale that is driving the movement to loosen restrictions is based largely on a misconception about gun violence, Fox adds.
A desire for self-defense during mass shootings is often cited as a reason for allowing people to carry guns. But Fox notes that mass shootings account for fewer than 2 percent of firearm- related casualties in the United States. More than 43,000 people in the U.S. were killed by guns in 2020, of whom 513 were victims of mass shootings.
Fox says that increased gun controls would likely have little effect on mass shootings.
“The mass shooters generally are deliberate, determined, and will find a way to get a gun no matter what we put in their path,” Fox says. “Now, should we make it more difficult? Yes. But those policies that are proposed in the wake of mass shootings would have the greatest effect on the type of ordinary gun violence we have every day.”