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Mass. officials say Texas school shooting is ‘incomprehensible,’ call for gun reform

A woman cried and hugged a young girl outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center where grief counseling is offered in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday.ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images

The mass school shooting Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, that killed at least 19 children and two adults prompted a swift response on social media from public officials, law enforcement, and gun safety advocates in Massachusetts, who expressed horror, sadness, and frustration at the nation’s lack of gun control measures.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation, the Legislature, Boston city councilors, local police departments, and others spoke out on Twitter and elsewhere about the Texas tragedy and the litany of mass shootings that have preceded it, each one followed by calls for change that has not come.

Governor Charlie Baker said he was “horrified by the senseless act of violence and lives lost at Robb Elementary School.”

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“All kids deserve to feel safe, and I am heartbroken that these acts of violence continue to happen in schools,” Baker a Republican, said on Twitter.

Senator Ed Markey said he was “horrified by news of another mass shooting and my heart breaks for the families of the young children and teacher killed in Uvalde.”

“Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now,” Markey, a Malden Democrat, said on Twitter. “To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame.”

A short time later, Markey posted another tweet calling for the end of the filibuster so that Democrats in Congress can pass gun control legislation without Republican support.

US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who grew up in neighboring Oklahoma, said her “heart goes out to all the families in Uvalde, Texas, whose lives were shattered.”

“The Senate must pass gun safety legislation and protect our children,” the Cambridge Democrat said on Twitter.

US Representative Jim McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, blamed the National Rifle Association’s influence in Washington for the latest mass shooting, saying that “some in Congress care more about the NRA’s money than about kids getting shot at school.”

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Representative Jake Auchincloss, a Newton Democrat, pointed his finger squarely at Republicans.

“We have the power to stop this,” Auchincloss wrote on Twitter. “Too many Republicans lack the political courage. Enough is enough.”

Representative Lori Trahan said she had just picked up her daughters from the school bus stop and called the mass shooting “every parent’s worst nightmare.”

“Shame on anyone who says we can’t do more to prevent school shootings, especially elected officials who oppose even the most basic, commonsense gun safety legislation,” the Westford Democrat said on Twitter.

Representative Seth Moulton said “it is too easy for the wrong people to get guns and commit murder. We have to stop this. There is much more we can do ... and we must.”

In a tweet from his official account a short time later, the Salem Democrat asked, “Beyond the thoughts and prayers, where is the political courage to actually do something?”

Representative Katherine Clark, a Revere Democrat and the House’s assistant speaker, said simply, “We can’t allow our children to grow up in a country that allows this to happen again and again.”

Attorney General Maura Healey called the shootings “incomprehensible and sick” in a Twitter post from the account for her gubernatorial campaign. She said her “heart aches for the victims and their loved ones” and called for action to protect Americans.

In a later tweet from her official account, Healey again called for “action now.”

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Members of the Massachusetts Legislature also weighed in, calling for schools across the nation to be safer.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, a former public school teacher who is running for governor, said her “heart is breaking for the families & loved ones of these victims.”

“Our children deserve to go to learn in safety, not worry whether their school’s next lockdown is a drill or not,” the Jamaica Plain Democrat said. “We need national action to end gun violence now.”

State Senator Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, called the Uvalde tragedy the “worst grade school shooting since Sandy Hook, Connecticut.”

“Think about that sentence,” Eldridge said on Twitter. “WE NEED MORE THAN WORDS.”

State Senator Adam Gomez, a Springfield Democrat, posted three tweets reflecting on his feelings as a parent of young children and his belief in the “importance of comprehensive background checks for firearms, the need for parents to properly secure any weapons they may own, and better mental health services.”

State Senator Patrick O’Connor said he was “devastated” when he learned of the mass shooting.

“During my time as a State Senator, I have had to comment way too many times on tragedies like this happening at our schools,” the Weymouth Republican said on Twitter. “Schools need to be safe. Period.”

State Senator Julian Cyr, a Truro Democrat, called the school shooting “Absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking.”

Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston and several city councilors shared their reactions to the tragedy.

Wu said the city “grieves with families in Uvalde & across our nation,” and she called for “sweeping gun reforms to protect our children & communities.”

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Councilor Kenzie Bok was critical of the wide availability of guns, writing, “A culture that values gun access above child safety is a culture of death. To let this happen again & again without gun law reform puts the blood on America’s hands too.”

Councilor Ricardo Arroyo pointed to the recent supermarket mass shooting by an alleged white supremacist that killed 10 people in a predominantly Black Buffalo, N.Y., neighborhood, saying Americans “haven’t even begun to heal from the tragedy in Buffalo.”

“This shouldn’t be our normal,” Arroyo, who is running for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said on Twitter. “We need to change the fact that in this country it is easier to buy guns than it is to access healthcare.”

Councilor Kendra Lara called for “sweeping gun reform.”

“No amount of thoughts and prayers will suffice,” Lara wrote on Twitter. “What could possibly be a balm for the 14 families who have just lost their child?”

Councilor Julia Mejia also called for action and “No more thoughts and prayers.”

Councilor Gabriela Coletta said she was “sickened by the lack of action of those in LEADERSHIP positions across the Country.”

Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune’s message was concise, saying in part, “We, as a nation, are not OK.”

Former councilor Andrea Campbell, who is running for attorney general, said that as a mother, she found reports of the shootings to be “spirit crushing,” and she is “praying for these families and their community.”

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“What more needs to happen for leaders to wake up and do what’s necessary to end these cycles of violence?” Campbell wrote on Twitter. “The sense of urgency is crystal clear to me.”

Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said she was “heartbroken for the children and the families” and asked, “What will it take for Congress to wake up and end gun violence?”

Massachusetts State Police said they “join the rest of our nation in mourning the loss of numerous children —18 as of this writing — and a teacher to an act of unimaginable evil today in Uvalde, Texas.”

“We stand, also, in solidarity with the emergency personnel who responded to the scene, including the officers and tactical units that ended the threat, and the paramedics and medical personnel who worked valiantly to save lives,” State Police said in a Facebook post.

The Boston Police Department said on Twitter that its members were “devastated to hear of the mass casualty shooting incident” and their “thoughts are with the victims, their families, fellow students, staff members and the first responders on scene.”

MBTA Transit Police offered their prayers.

Seekonk police said they were saddened by the deaths and will have an increased presence at local schools for the near future.

Canton Police Chief Ken Berkowitz said he was praying for the victims and their families and shared a photo of police responding to the shootings in jeans and casual shirts, suggesting they were called in while off-duty to help address the violence.

Jaclyn Corin, a Harvard University student who cofounded the antiviolence group March 4 Our Lives, offered prayers for Uvalde and reflected on how common mass shootings have become.

The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence called the shootings “horrifying” and said people must work to make sure every child, and every person, is safe.



Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him @jeremycfox. Maya Homan can be reached at maya.homan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @MayaHoman. Madison Mercado can be reached at madison.mercado@globe.com.