13 Investigates: Texas voters, including GOP, support gun safety reforms, poll shows

ByTed Oberg and Sarah Rafique via KTRK logo
Thursday, September 22, 2022
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A new survey from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University shows broad support for gun safety reforms, including from GOP voters.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A new survey from the University of Houston and Texas Southern University shows broad support for gun safety reforms in the wake of the school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead in Uvalde.

Researchers at UH and TSU contacted more than 2,400 Texans in late August and found 78% of them support requiring a universal background check, including gun shows and private sales. The results show 70% of Republicans surveyed support universal checks, too.

Results of the poll indicate 80% of Texans support a ban on anyone with a restraining order from purchasing a gun - that included 74% of Texas Republicans.

The survey shows 74% of Texans support what is commonly called "red flag laws," where judges are allowed to take firearms from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

13 Investigates looked into how effective red flag laws are earlier this year when we examined how Florida responded to the high school shooting in 2018 that killed 14 students and three teachers in Parkland.

Our investigation found Florida lawmakers passed bipartisan gun control laws 23 days after the Parkland shooting, including red flag laws and raising the age to buy all guns from 18 to 21.

Since getting passed in Florida, the red flag law has been used more than 8,000 times, including more than 1,000 times each in the two counties with conservative Republican sheriffs.

SEE ALSO: 13 Investigates how Texas and Florida responded differently after school shootings

The recent poll in Texas shows 59% of Republicans support red flag laws and 71% of all Texans support raising the age to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21 across the state.

Specifically, 56% of Republicans support raising the age to purchase assault rifles to 21, according to the poll.

All of those measures would require changes to Texas law, but the legislature isn't back in session until January.

In the past, lawmakers have resisted calls for gun safety reform after the mass shootings in Santa Fe, El Paso, Sutherland Springs and again after Uvalde.

Despite calls from advocates to raise the age to buy assault rifles to 21, Gov. Greg Abbott said it's something he can't do.

"It is clear that the gun control law that they are seeking in Uvalde - as much as they may want it - has already been ruled as unconstitutional," Abbott said at a re-election campaign event in Allen, according to our partners at the Texas Tribune.

SEE ALSO: Gov. Greg Abbott says raising the age to buy an assault-style rifle is 'unconstitutional'

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