Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was met with boos Sunday as he arrived at a memorial site for victims of the elementary school massacre in Uvalde, which sparked a nationwide wave of grief and anger over lawmakers’ persistent — and industry-funded — inaction on gun violence.
“We need change, governor!” yelled one member of a crowd gathered at Robb Elementary School as Abbott, a Republican who just two days earlier delivered video remarks at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention, arrived at the site.
“Shame on you, Abbott!” others shouted at the governor, who has overseen and approved the GOP-dominated state legislature’s further weakening of Texas’ gun regulations in recent years even in the wake of deadly shootings.
The Texas Tribune noted last week that “in the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021, less than two years after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of 30 people.”
Texas has an average of ten child gun deaths per year more than doubled during Abbott’s tenure.
Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has arrived. He was met with a few jeers and boos from the crowd. pic.twitter.com/qK7IlTmwh4
— Robert Sherman (@RobertShermanTV) May 29, 2022
— Jia Chen (@jiawenc17) May 29, 2022
Recycle the old and worn talking point that mental illness is the primary driver of gun violence, Abbott has signaled following the Uvalde massacre — the deadliest school shooting in Texas history — that he has no intention of supporting proposals such as those put forth in recent days by Democrats in the state Senate.
The Democratic lawmakers are pushing the governor to call an emergency legislative session — something he has done to attack voting rights — and endorse passage of laws raising the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, requiring universal background checks for gun purchases, restricting ownership of high-capacity magazines, and other changes.
“Texas has suffered more mass shootings over the past decade than any other state,” all 13 members of Texas’ Senate Democratic caucus wroteIn a letter to Abbott, the survivors expressed their grief over the weekend. “In Sutherland Springs, 26 people died. Ten people were killed at Santa Fe High School, outside Houston. 23 people were killed at a Walmart in El Paso. Seven people died in Midland-Odessa.”
“After each of these mass killings, you have held press conferences and roundtables promising things would change,” the lawmakers continued. “After the slaughter of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, those broken promises have never rung more hollow. The time to take real action is now.”
Parents of Uvalde-accidentally killed children have also echoed this message.
Kimberly Rubio was among the 21 victims. told TThe New York TimesLast week, she and her husband declined an invitation for a meeting with Abbott. They cited Abbott’s opposition to basic gun-safety measures that are popular and widely accepted.
“We live in this really small town in this red state, and everyone keeps telling us, you know, that it’s not the time to be political, but it is — it is,” Rubio said. “Don’t let this happen to anybody else.”
Sunday’s protestors in Uvalde demanded federal action. For years, Republican lawmakers and right-wing Democrats had blocked gun-control legislation.
“Do something!” onlookers shouted at President Joe Biden as he departed a mass service in the grieving Texas city.
Demonstrators seeking an end to gun massacres plaguing the US chanted “do something” at President Joe Biden during his visit to Texas, where a teenage shooter killed 19 children and two teachers in a public school pic.twitter.com/IXOOf3LcU5
— TRT World (@trtworld) May 30, 2022
Gun control advocates support accusedIn the aftermath of Uvalde’s shooting, the president was limited to offering platitudes. spurred limited bipartisan talks in Congress that — like similar legislative efforts over the past decade — are likely to end in failure amid near-unanimous GOP opposition.
Two Democrats in the Senate — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — are refusing to drop their support for the 60-vote legislative filibuster, meaning at least 10 Republican votes are needed in the chamber to pass a gun control bill.