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School massacre continues grim streak of mass shootings in Texas – The Journal

The gunman who killed 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Texas added to the state’s recent grim history of mass shootings

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Once again, one of America’s deadliest mass shootings has occurred in Texas.

Past shootings have targeted worshipers at a Sunday sermon, shoppers at a Walmart, students on a high school campus and drivers on a freeway. Among the latest victims were 19 children in the small town of Uvalde, west of San Antonio, where a gunman opened fire inside an elementary school on Tuesday in the nation’s deadliest shooting. for nearly a decade.

Each of these Texas tragedies – which have claimed more than 85 lives in total – have occurred in the past five years.

But as the horror at Uvalde plunges the United States into another gun violence debate, Texas and the state’s Republican-controlled government have now demonstrated what is likely to happen next: virtually nothing that would restrict access to firearms.

Lawmakers are unlikely to pass any significant new limits on guns. Last year, gun laws were actually relaxed after a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a 2019 racist attack that targeted Hispanics.

“I can’t understand that,” said State Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde. “It’s troubling to me as a policy maker that we haven’t been able to do much more than create greater access to these militarized weapons for just about anyone who wants them.”

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott identified the shooter as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Two other adults also died in the attack. The shooter was killed by authorities.

The cycle in Texas — a mass shooting followed by little to no new gun restrictions — reflects GOP efforts to block tougher laws in Congress and outrage among Democrats and supporters of more scrutiny. strict firearms.

President Joe Biden made another angry push Tuesday night after the Uvalde tragedy. “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he asked in an address from the White House.

The Texas shooting happened days before the National Rifle Association held its annual meeting in Houston, where Abbott and other Republican leaders are scheduled to speak.

Even as Biden’s party has little control of Congress, gun violence bills have stalled over Republican opposition in the Senate. Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on gun purchases, but both languished in the Senate 50-50 where Democrats need at least 10 votes Republicans to overcome the objections of a buccaneer.

“It sort of focuses on the issue of mental health. There seems to be a consensus in this area,” Senate GOP Leader No. 2 John Thune said of how Congress should react to the shooting of Uvalde. He didn’t specify what it would be.

In Texas, no changes to gun access would come until lawmakers return to the Capitol in 2023. In the past, calls for action have faded.

Abbott, who is up for re-election in November, said the shooting in Uvalde was perpetrated “in a horrific and incomprehensible way” on children. He didn’t immediately say how or if Texas would react to this latest mass shooting on a political level, but since becoming governor in 2015, the state has only softened on the issues. gun laws.

Exactly a year before the Uvalde shooting, the GOP-controlled legislature voted to remove one of the last major gun restrictions in Texas: required licenses, background checks and training for nearly 1.6 million registered handgun owners in the state at the time.

Abbott signed the measure, which came at the end of what was the Texas Legislature’s first chance to act after the attack on Walmart.

A year later, a man engaged in a highway shooting in West Texas’ oil patch that left seven people dead, spraying bullets at passing cars and malls and killing an employee of the US Postal Service by hijacking his mail truck.

Following a 2018 Santa Fe high school shooting that killed 10 people near Houston, Abbott signaled his support for so-called red flag laws, which restrict people’s access to guns. considered dangerous to themselves or to others. But he then pulled out amid backlash from gun rights supporters.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who won the GOP nomination for a third term on Tuesday, told Fox News after the Uvalde shooting that the best response would be to train teachers and ‘toughen up’ schools. .

Democratic state Rep. Joe Moody recalled the hope he had that the Walmart shooting in his border town could finally lead to reform.

“And the only answer you get when we go to the Capitol is, ‘More guns, less restrictions,'” Moody said. “That’s all.”

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Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.

FILE – Demonstrators hold a banner protesting President Donald Trump’s visit to the border town following the August 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas on August 7, 2019. A gunman killed several children and adults in the primary in Texas on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 adds to the state’s recent grim history of mass shootings. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton, File)

FILE – A protester helps hold a large ‘Come and Take It’ banner during a rally in support of gun laws at the Capitol, January 26, 2015, in Austin, Texas. A gunman killing several elementary school children and adults in Texas on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, adds to the state’s recent grim history of mass shootings. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

FILE – In this Dec. 14, 2012, file photo, parents leave a staging area after reuniting with their children following a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Once again, several people have been killed in an elementary school shooting, this time in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

A woman cries as she leaves the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier today at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

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)

Members of law enforcement stand outside Robb Elementary School after a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)