Texas saw two mass shootings within a month in 2019, and the Tribune set out to explore what steps the state has taken to prevent the next tragedy. This timeline combines 10 years of Texas Tribune-University of Texas poll results, data on shooting incidents (including fatalities) and significant related actions taken by lawmakers.
The headlines repeat themselves:
A racist manifesto and a shooter terrorize Hispanics in El Paso and beyond.
Here’s everything you need to know about Texas gun laws.
President Trump is talking about red-flag laws. Texas lawmakers have blocked those bills in the past.
After West Texas shooting, Texas House Rep. says “NO” to gun restrictions.*
Texas saw two mass shootings within a month in 2019, and the Tribune set out to explore what steps the state has taken to prevent the next tragedy. This timeline combines 10 years of poll results, data on shooting incidents (including fatalities) and significant related actions taken by lawmakers. Polls consistently show that Texans are divided about gun control — with 40% to 50% saying they want stricter gun laws — while all but one of the laws passed over the past decade by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature have expanded where guns are allowed, who can have a firearm in schools and the right to openly carry guns.
This project increased the transparency around the major shooting incidents and changes in gun laws. Should another mass shooting occur in Texas, the Tribune will be able to update and provide this information.
*Source: The Texas Tribune headlines
With this project, we sought to combine and contextualize three related sets of information over a decade: news reports on mass shootings, records of gun-related legislation that passed and statewide poll results. This means that the greatest challenges were related to design — it’s a timeline, plus much more. The project incorporates d3.js and html bar charts. It’s built upon the Tribune’s open-source development kit, which is built in node.
What was the hardest part of this project?
This project required a huge amount of research and reporting. The reporters reached out to lawmakers and advocacy organizations involved in each piece of gun legislation to learn about their motivations and what they think of the outcomes. The three sets of information we used were inconsistent, and led to design challenges when there were years with less data or no data. It also challenged us to think about how the end user could best navigate the piece.
What can others learn from this project?
Sometimes a simple timeline is the best design option, and projects like this are mainly exercises in sourcing and research.
Most gun policy comes from the federal level, so we tried our best to focus on things that are in the purview of the state of Texas and left out federal laws. Other outlets may want to do the same for their state.