Texas Gov. Greg Abbott anticipates new safety laws being enacted at the state level in response to Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which led to the deaths of 19 children and two adults.
“Do we expect any laws to come out of this devastating crime? The answer is yes. Absolutely yes,” Abbott, a Republican, said on Friday.
When asked about calling a special session for the Texas Legislature, in the wake of the deadly shooting, Abbott said that “all options are on the table.”
Republicans and Democrats alike have joined together this week in mourning the loss of the 19 Robb students and two teachers.
At the same time, GOP officials have focused their messaging on school security, whereas Democrats have generally been advocating for sweeping gun reform.
When asked about the new measures Texas could potentially see, Abbott focused on mental health and school safety.
“You can expect robust discussion, and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing healthcare in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”
Abbott welcomes all debates with this vital issue of protecting our children in schools. But he also cautions that background checks are not the one-size-fits-all answer to what plagues our society.
“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” said Abbott, who is seeking reelection in November.
Earlier this week, Abbott told Newsmax that Texas’ gun control laws would not have stopped the 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Rolando Ramos, from acquiring a rifle.
Regarding the notion of 18-year-olds having the legal right to possess guns, Abbott said that “ever since Texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has had the ability to buy a long gun, a rifle.
“And since that time, it seems like it’s only been in the past decade or two we’ve had school shootings,” Abbott continued. “For a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles, and we didn’t have school shootings; but we do now.
“Maybe we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”
The shooting in Uvalde has prompted national outrage on various fronts as details emerge about how the local police conducted themselves Tuesday while Ramos, according to police, opened fire on a single classroom at Robb Elementary.
At a recent press conference, Abbott said he was “livid” about the initial “inaccurate” information he received about the police response to the shooting.
Previously, he praised the police for handling the matter with “courage.”
According to the Daily Mail, Ramos used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, which he had bought legally just days before Tuesday’s attack, and shortly after his 18th birthday.
During the shooting, a Border Patrol agent reportedly rushed into the school and found Ramos barricaded, according to a sourced report from The Associated Press.
The agent then fatally shot Ramos and left, the report stated.