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The Republican lawmaker, who is among the top recipients of campaign contributions from gun lobbyists, said Tuesday that he and his wife were “fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde” after at least 19 children and two adults were killed by a lone gunman at Robb Elementary School.
Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde.
We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding.
Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 24, 2022
No matter how many mass shootings afflict the nation, Cruz has long opposed efforts to enact gun control measures. Even after Tuesday’s massacre, he told reporters he did not believe gun law reforms were the solution and called it an effort to “restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”
It’s the same playbook he uses after most mass shootings. Last year, after multiple people were killed in Boulder, Colorado, and in Atlanta, Georgia, Cruz accused Democrats of “ridiculous theater” because they called for gun control measures, such as universal background checks, as a response.
The House has passed legislation that would mandate universal background checks for gun purchases, a measure that polling shows 90% of Americans support. The bill has stalled because of Republican resistance in the Senate.
On Tuesday, prayers aside, Cruz proposed adding more armed law enforcement officers to school campuses.
Texas is one of the nation’s top three states with the most mass shootings over the past 20 years.
Instead of tightening gun laws, the state has relaxed them in recent years. It has some of the loosest regulations in the country.
Cruz is slated to speak at a National Rifle Association conference in Houston on Friday, along with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, former President Donald Trump and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
In the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received more than $300,000 from gun rights supporters, making him the top recipient in Congress in that period, according to Open Secrets.
His reaction Tuesday was widely condemned, including by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who noted his upcoming speaking gig.
“You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead,” she tweeted.
Other reactions have been compiled below.
Aren’t you slated to headline a speaking gig for the NRA in three days - in Houston, no less?
You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead. https://t.co/NMX64KljhL
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 24, 2022
Ted Cruz received $300k from the pro-gun crowd so take your prayers and shove them up your ass. Your acceptance of this blood money tells us how much your prayers are worth. https://t.co/MMxQMwtAEv
— Kurt Bardella (@kurtbardella) May 24, 2022
Here are some precise details we know for a fact:
•The terrorist was 18. In 2021 Texas lowered the age to carry a handgun to 18.
•Though 92% of Americans support universal background checks, GOP has consistently opposed any gun reform laws.
•GOP is funded & bought by the NRA. https://t.co/gDLBM9Mnc9
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) May 24, 2022
“I don’t want to go down in history as a monster. I want that title RIGHT NOW.” https://t.co/YqWZ7HPgt7
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) May 24, 2022
.@tedcruz please — and I mean this sincerely — shut the fuck up
Take your fake thoughts and empty prayers and shove it
You are an NRA shill. There is a river of blood dripping from your hands https://t.co/y99mhkEJWH
— Lindy Li (@lindyli) May 24, 2022
What good is any of that when you refuse to use your power to protect the children, men and women of your state? https://t.co/4ACP0GnBhV
— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) May 24, 2022
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 24, 2022
And you have called attempts to repeal gun laws ‘ridiculous theatre’ from Democrats. Isn’t the ‘ridiculous theatre’ a tweet like this, which offers prayers as though that is all that can be done to deal with this crisis? https://t.co/KG97zIhQVo
— Jon Sopel (@jonsopel) May 24, 2022
This United States senator made a Sandy Hook father wait for hours to testify about harassment after the murder of his daughter, then mispronounced the child’s name. Deeds not words https://t.co/KqSowNt7wr
— Elizabeth Williamson (@NYTLiz) May 24, 2022
you should open with this when you speak at the NRA rally in Houston later this week you spineless piece of shit https://t.co/CwasHe8DhQ
— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) May 24, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.