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The child, who is aged five, is currently in a stable condition in hospital, according to Houston Police Department’s Major Assaults & Family Violence Division while his mother, Angelia Mia Vargas, 24, has been indicted on a charge of deadly conduct-discharge of a firearm, according to a police statement.
The boy’s injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
The incident took place at 2.15pm on 29 May on Dunham Road. Authorities say that Ms Vargas was attempting to aim at a dog across the road, and shot at it three times, and one of those shots accidentally hit the little boy.
Due to discharging a firearm over a public road and near two other homes, she was taken into police custody. The dog owner was given a citation for not having his pet on a leash.
The owner opted to not be identified but gave their account to ABC13 News, who also reported that other residents saw Ms Vargas with her son and another group of people riding bikes before she opened fire.
"I came out of my house because Bruno was barking and barking. I thought my brother was coming," said the dog’s owner. "So, I open the door just a little bit and he comes running out."
They also spoke about the emotional turmoil witnessing the event had caused them.
"I had a dream hearing the little boy crying, and that's what woke me up when I was sleeping yesterday,” they said, and expressed wishes that Ms Vargas could have used her words instead a gun.
"She could have handled it differently. You know, she was there, her husband was there, I was there, nothing would have happened. Nothing bad like that,"
This incident coincides with Texas governor Greg Abbot being due to sign the landmark bill HB 1927 into law which has gained the nickname “Constitutional Carry”. The legislation will remove the need for a permit to carry a handgun in Texas. Some supporters say it captures the true essence of the Second Amendment.
Currently, people in Texas require a licence to carry a handgun on their person. To get a licence, people need to go through up to six hours of training and be tested on their knowledge. Additionally, they have to provide personal details, such as fingerprints and go through a background check.
Senior police representatives have voiced concerns about the bill.
Mike Mata, the chairman of the Dallas Police Association said, “Every police officer in Texas supports the right of our citizens to arm themselves for sport, hunting and protection. But as with any Constitutional right there comes great responsibility. For the safety of Texas residents, we want to make sure everyone who carries a firearm is well trained, follow basic gun safety measures and understand the importance of responsible gun usage,” according to reporting from KXAN in April.
Former Rep Allen West, chairman of the Texas Republican party, which controls the state assembly, said: “When you create laws that tell people what they can and can’t do as far as being a legal law-abiding firearm owner, the only people that are going to obey those laws are the legal firearm owners.”
Even under the new rules, yet to be brought into law, there are limits on where you can bring guns. These include, but are not limited, to schools, bars, polling venues and federal and government property. At their discretion, any private businesses can decide if guns are permitted on their grounds.
This article was amended on 9 June 2021 to correct an inaccurate description of current Texas gun licensing laws and the changes proposed by HB 1927.
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