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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Friday said he expects new laws to be enacted in response the shooting this week that killed 21 people at an elementary school.
“Do we expect any laws to come out of this devastating crime? The answer is yes. Absolutely yes,” Abbott said.
When asked about calling a special session for the legislature in response to the shooting, he said “all options are on the table.”
Since the shooting, Republicans have focused their messaging on school security, while Democrats are advocating for more gun control.
When pressed further on measures Texas could 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 health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”
Abbott seemed more resistant to measures targeting background checks on guns and new laws around buying rifles.
Abbott pointed to other school shootings where a background check did not stop a shooter because the person who committed the act passed the check.
“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” Abbott said.
In regards to rifles, 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 said. “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, Texas, has sparked national outrage as more details emerge about the police waiting outside the elementary school building while the shooter was inside.
Abbott said at the press conference he is “livid” about the initial “inaccurate” information he received about the police’s response to the shooting, as he previously said authorities handled the event with “courage.”