Uvalde shooting: Texas Gov. Abbott says Chicago, NYC crime proves harsher gun laws not solution
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that crime rates in places like Chicago and New York City “disprove” the thesis that tougher gun laws would have prevented the mass shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
During a lengthy press conference about Tuesday’s shooting, Abbott was pressed on whether he would support “real” gun control measures in an effort to prevent another tragedy.
“I know that people like to try to oversimplify this,” Abbott responded. “Let’s talk about some real facts, and that is, there are ‘real’ gun laws in Chicago. There are ‘real’ gun laws in New York. There are ‘real’ gun laws in California.
TEXAS SCHOOL SHOOTING: LIVE UPDATES
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott addresses the Uvalde school shooting.
“I hate to say this, but there are more people who are shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas,” he continued. “And we need to realize that people who think that, ‘Well, maybe we could just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to solve it.’ Chicago and L.A. and New York disprove that thesis. And so if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about, it’s not a real solution. Our job is to come up with real solutions that we can implement.”
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting, Salvador Ramos, 18, legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local federal firearms licensee, one on May 17 and another on May 20. The suspect also purchased 375 rounds of 5.56 ammunition on May 18, the ATF said.
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People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.
(William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)
Abbott said 18-year-olds have been able to buy semi-automatic rifles in the state for decades and that mass shootings like this are a new phenomenon.
“The ability of an 18-year-old to buy a long gun has been in place in the state of Texas for more than 60 years,” he said. “And think about during the time over the course of that 60 years, we have not had episodes like this. And why is it that for the majority of those 60 years, we did not have school shootings? And why is it that we do now?
“The reality is, I don’t know the answer to that question,” he continued. “However, what I do know in talking to the leaders here, as well as leaders and other locations around the state, and that is one thing that has substantially changed is the status of mental health in our communities. What I do know is this, and that is we as a state, we as a society need to do a better job with mental health. Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it.”
Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Greg Abbott for governor in 2022, interrupts a news conference headed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Uvalde, Texas Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
In the wake of the shooting, Democrats have been calling on the Senate to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which would expand the National Instant Criminal Background Check System to require a background check for all firearm sales, including private sales between two unlicensed individuals. But because Ramos purchased his weapons legally from a licensed firearms dealer, the measure would not have impacted the transactions in which he acquired his guns.
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., signaled Wednesday that he’s not bringing the bill up for a quick vote and will instead try to negotiate a deal with Republicans.
“My Republican colleagues can work with us now,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “I think it’s a slim prospect. Very slim, all too slim. We’ve been burnt so many times before. But this is so important,” Schumer said. “We must pursue action and even ask Republicans to join us again.”