Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s response to the Uvalde massacre at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two teachers were shot and killed has been condemned in a scathing front page op-ed in Sunday’s San Antonio Express-News.
“In a position to meaningfully change our broken political discourse around gun safety, as mass shootings ravage our nation, Abbott has, time and again, opted to not only maintain but enhance a failed status quo,” the Express-News editorial board wrote in its Sunday column, titled “A Powerful Man Does Nothing.”
Abbott has remained firm in his opposition to gun safety legislation in the wake of the massacre, only pledging in a press conference that there “will be laws in multiple different subject areas,” while declaring in a pre-recorded message played at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention that gun control laws in other states “have not stopped madmen from carrying out evil acts on innocent people in peaceful communities.”
The Express-News editorial board called for Texas legislators to, if not ban assault weapons, at least pass laws raising the minimum age requirement to buy such firearms and add extensive licensing requirements. The board also challenged the governor’s claims regarding the effectiveness of gun control legislation, citing CDC data showing lower rates of firearm deaths in New York and California.
“Yes, the status quo for mass shootings is ‘unacceptable,’” the column concluded, citing Abbott’s own words. “But Abbott reinforces this status quo with his fealty to Texas’ gun laws. With all his power, he does nothing.”
While Abbott’s election opponent, former Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke, has renewed his calls for strong gun control laws in the state and even personally confronted Abbott during a press conference a week ago, it is unclear whether Abbott’s scrutiny in both local and national media will affect his hopes for reelection. While no polls have yet been conducted since the Uvalde shooting, Abbott has held a comfortable lead of at least seven points over O’Rourke for months.