Alabama lawmakers and political candidates are reacting to the deadly school shooting in Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead.
At approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, a gunman armed with an AR15 entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire in a single classroom of students and teachers.
Details are still pouring in, but U.S. political figures have already seized the opportunity to address political issues surrounding gun violence.
On Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden addressed the nation from the White House, where he expressed sadness over the event. The following day, Biden tweeted that the U.S needed “common sense” gun laws.
On Wednesday, Biden said that “the Second Amendment is not absolute” as he called for new limitations on guns in the wake of this week’s massacre at a Texas elementary school.
Sen. Tommy Tuberville expressed grief over the shooting while emphasizing the need to address the shooter’s mental condition and not address the issue of firearms or gun control.
“It’s a people problem; it’s not a gun problem,” Tuberville told NY Daily News. “You can’t do away with all the guns...We have to start treating people.”
Gov. Kay Ivey called for flags to be hung at half-staff in the state until Saturday’s sunset.
“We are all thinking about those in Uvalde, Texas,” Ivey tweeted. “I am heartbroken for the innocent lives lost and the loved ones who are grieving. May God be with all those affected by this horrific tragedy.”
State Rep. Chris England, who is also the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, released a statement in which he called for intervention from the federal government.
“We’re tired of reading bullshit statements from politicians, and we’re tired of writing them,” England said in a statement. “How many more innocent lives have to be lost for someone to do something?
“We need action on gun violence, voting rights, the minimum wage, healthcare, abortion rights, LGBTQ+ rights, cannabis reform, income inequality, the housing crisis, the student debt crisis, and countless other issues.
“Democrats are in control in Washington. We need federal action now.”
Calling for federal action on guns was a common thread amongst Alabama Democrats. Congresswoman Terri Sewell made several statements on the shootings via social media.
“I’m horrified and heartbroken,” Sewell said. “No parent should ever have to fear sending their child to school. Praying for healing and strength for the families impacted and the entire Uvalde community. This cannot be the norm. How many people have to die before Congress takes action?”
“When you won’t protect your elders or your children, you are lost,” Sewell said in another post. “We need commonsense gun reform and we need it NOW.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott reiterated a common theme for pro-second amendment advocates, claiming that additional gun-control laws would have no, or worsened, effect on gun violence.
“There are ‘real’ gun laws in Chicago,” Abbott said. "There are ‘real’ gun laws in New York. There are ‘real’ gun laws in California. I hate to say this, but there are more people who were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas. And we need to realize that people who think that think, "Maybe if we could just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to solve it.’ Chicago and L.A and New York disprove that thesis. And so, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about is not a real solution. Our job is to come up with real solutions that we can implement.”
19 children and two adults were killed in the shooting. Law enforcement officers killed the shooter, identified as a local 18-year-old who had shot and wounded his grandmother and spelled out his violent plans in online messages shortly before the massacre at Robb Elementary.
The attacker, Salvador Ramos, shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face at their Uvalde home, then fled in her truck as she summoned help, police said.
A short distance away, Ramos crashed the truck outside the school, got out with a rifle and approached a back door, officials said. They said an officer assigned to the school “engaged” Ramos, but the gunman got into the building and down a hallway to a fourth-grade classroom. After locking the classroom door, he opened fire around 11:30 a.m.
A team including local officers and Border Patrol agents ultimately forced the door open and shot Ramos to death after he fired at them, police said.
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