EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – The tragic shooting in Uvalde has local lawmakers once again questioning the state’s gun laws and asking how another mass shooting can be prevented.
Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the details in the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, where a lone gunman shot and killed 19 students and 2 teachers.
During the press conference, Abbott’s opponent and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke interrupted the governor and said he was “doing nothing” to prevent mass shootings in the state. Shortly afterwards, he was escorted out of the press conference.
Sen. Ted Cruz responded to O’Rourke’s display, calling O’Rourke an “embarrassment.” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled some profanities and yelled, “you’re out of line, sir.” Multiple other Texas leaders were standing on the stage surrounding Abbott, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Speaker Dade Phelan.
Over the past few years, Texas Republicans have touted a crackdown on gun violence after mass shootings.
Following the 2018 Santa Fe school shooting near Houston, Gov. Abbott called on lawmakers to consider red flag laws. Those laws could allow courts to remove guns from people who present a danger to themselves or others.
Then, following the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso at a Walmart, the governor said he would work with legislation. However, during the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers loosened the state’s gun laws by passing a bill that allows Texans to openly carry a handgun without a permit.
“Things are not going to change. We are going to continue to suffer this type of tragedy, we were promised after the Walmart incident there would be changes on the stateside, promises by the governor and lieutenant governor,” State Rep. Lina Ortega said.
Gov. Abbot responded to O’Rourke’s remarks, calling them a push for his “personal agendas.”
“In this one moment in time, put aside personal agendas, think about somebody other than ourselves. Think about the people who are hurt,” Abbott said in a raised voice.
According to officials, the gunman legally purchased two AR-style rifles shortly after his 18th birthday in March, along with 375 rounds of ammunition. Abbott said on Wednesday only one of the rifles was used in the shooting.
State Senator Cesar Blanco said there needs to be more done by legislators.
“We can stop this, we can take measures to keep communities safe, the bottom line is political will and we are not seeing the political will,” Blanco said. “Politicians are afraid of the gun lobby, afraid of the NRA, politicians are afraid of their constituents voting them out.”
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