NBA’s Gregg Popovich slams Texas lawmakers over inaction on guns

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich denounced Texas lawmakers’ inaction on gun legislation Saturday at a gathering in support of the Uvalde, Texas, community following the mass shooting at an elementary school that claimed 21 lives last month.

“We’ve heard all the comments on television from some of our government officials about thoughts and prayers and condolences and on and on and on,” Popovich said. “They’re the same statements after every massacre, exactly the same, and it never changes, and more children are dead and more teachers and more civilians, dead.”

Popovich noted that some of the deadliest shootings in American history have happened in Texas and slammed lawmakers for still not changing the state’s laws to make it harder for potential shooters to get firearms.

Popovich recalled that when Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (D) confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) at a press conference following the Uvalde shooting over inaction on guns, the officials speaking yelled that O’Rourke was “out of line.”

Popovich argued that Abbott and the other officials were the ones who were “out of line,” because they have not acted following mass shootings.

He said lawmakers such as Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have deflected from the issue of firearm access with arguments that mental illness is to blame for gun violence. But he pointed to how Abbott significantly cut state funding for the department overseeing Texas’s mental health services in April as evidence of hypocrisy.

“It’s like a deflection because they think we’re stupid, so they’ll keep bringing it up and bringing it up,” Popovich said. “But they’ll listen to us if we’re angry enough and if we’re committed enough.”

Popovich’s comments come after a press conference from Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, in which Kerr condemned congressional inaction on gun legislation, gained national attention.

Leaders of gun control advocacy organizations said following those remarks that they hope non-political figures with large followings like Kerr speaking out on the issue inspires more people to get involved in advocating for reform.

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