AUSTIN, Texas ( Associated Press) – Once again, one of America’s deadliest mass shootings took place in Texas.
Previous shootings targeted worshipers, Walmart shoppers, students on the high school campus and drivers on the highway during Sunday’s sermon. Among the latest victims were 19 children in the small town of Uvalde, west of San Antonio, where a gunman on Tuesday opened fire inside an elementary school in the country’s deadliest school in nearly a decade.
Each of those tragedies in Texas – which resulted in the deaths of more than 85 people – occurred in the past five years.
But as terror in Uvalde plunges America into another debate over gun violence, Texas and the state’s Republican-controlled government have so far demonstrated what is likely to happen next: There is virtually nothing that can be done with guns. restrict access.
Lawmakers are unlikely to adopt any significant new limits on guns. Last year, gun laws were actually loosened at a Walmart in El Paso after a gunman killed 23 people in a racist 2019 attack that targeted Hispanics.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde. “It is troubling to me as a policy maker that we are able to do much more than make these military weapons accessible to anyone who wants them.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott identified the gunman as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Two other adults also died in the attack. The gunman was shot dead by the officers.
The cycle in Texas – following a mass shooting with few if any new restrictions on guns – is sure to spark the GOP’s efforts to block tough laws in Congress and outrage from Democrats and supporters of stricter gun controls.
President Joe Biden made a new outpouring of anger on Tuesday evening following the tragedy in Uvalde. “When in the name of God are we going to stand in front of the gun lobby?” he asked in a White House address.
The shooting in Texas came days before the National Rifle Association held its annual meeting in Houston, where Abbott and other Republican leaders are scheduled to speak.
Even though Biden’s party has thin control over Congress, Republican opposition in the Senate has stalled gun violence bills. Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases, but both ended up 50-50 in the Senate, where Democrats needed at least 10 Republicans to brush off objections from a filibuster. votes are required.
“It kind of centers around the issue of mental health. There seems to be consensus in that area,” said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Thune on how Congress should react to the Uvalde shooting. He didn’t specify what that would be.
In Texas, there will be no change in gun access until lawmakers return to the Capitol in 2023. In the past, the call to action has faded.
Abbott, who is up for re-election in November, said there had been a “horrible, incomprehensible” shooting at children in Uvalde. He didn’t immediately say how or whether Texas would respond to this latest mass shooting at a policy level, but since he became governor in 2015, the state has been more relaxed when it comes to gun laws.
Just a year before the Uvalde shooting, the GOP-controlled Legislature voted to lift one of the last major gun restrictions in Texas: required licenses, background checks, and training for the roughly 1.6 million registered handgun owners in the state at the time.
Abbott signed off on the measure, the first for the Texas Legislature to act after the Walmart attack.
A year later, a man fled a highway shooting in a West Texas oil patch, killing seven people, hurling bullets at cars and shopping plazas, and killing a US Postal Service worker, while His mail truck was hijacked.
After a shooting at Santa Fe High School in 2018 that killed 10 people near Houston, Abbott signaled support for so-called red flag laws that limit gun access for people deemed dangerous to themselves or others. prohibit the. But he later withdrew amid a scuffle 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 “strict” schools.
Democrat State Representative Joe Moody recalled the hope he felt that the Walmart shooting in his border town could eventually lead to reforms.
Moody said, “And when we go to the Capitol the only answer you get is, ‘More guns, less restrictions. “and that is all.'”
Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.