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Here’s what Texas politicians have said about guns in the past, and after the Uvalde shooting

Senator John Cornyn, left, and Senator Ted Cruz spoke together in the House chamber at the Capitol in Washington last week.J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers in a fourth-grade classroom, Texas politicians had plenty of thoughts and prayers to offer.

But their words fell flat for many people who believe lawmakers must do more to stop the violent pattern of mass shootings in the country, particularly when many of those same leaders have consistently expressed unequivocal support for guns and rejected calls for more restrictions on weapons capable of slaughtering dozens in quick succession.

As the nation mourned, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz criticized those advocating for more gun control as trying to “politicize” a tragedy, and instead called for even more weapons in schools, in the form of armed police officers.


Meanwhile, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted about grieving the lives lost in Uvalde and urged Texans to come together, but he, Cruz, and Donald Trump are still scheduled to attend a National Rifle Association meeting in Houston this weekend. Guns won’t be allowed during Trump’s speech at the event.

Here is a collection of some of the pro-gun statements Texas politicians have made recently and in the past.

Governor Greg Abbott

Abbott tweeted Tuesday that he was mourning the victims of the “senseless crime” in Uvalde.

People in his replies appeared unimpressed pointing out a 2015 tweet in which he urged Texans to buy more guns.

And last year, Abbott signed into law a piece of legislation that drastically expanded gun rights in the state, including allowing people to carry handguns without a license and removing restrictions on silencers.

At the time, Abbott said, “We built a barrier around gun rights.” Here’s his full statement, on the state’s website:

“Politicians from the federal level to the local level have threatened to take guns from law-abiding citizens — but we will not let that happen in Texas. ... Texas will always be the leader in defending the Second Amendment, which is why we built a barrier around gun rights this session. These seven laws will protect the rights of law-abiding citizens and ensure that Texas remains a bastion of freedom. Thank you to the Texas Legislature for getting these bills to my desk.”

Abbott spent the night of the Uvalde shooting attending a fundraising event for his reelection campaign. His campaign said the rest of his political activities are now postponed, Texas Tribune reported.


On Wednesday, Abbott joined other officials at a press conference about the Uvalde shooting, saying, “Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday. Anyone who shoots his grandmother in the face has to have evil in his heart.”

Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman and Democrat challenging Abbott in this year’s election, interrupted the press conference, calling out Abbott for his record on gun control and saying the shooting was “totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”

As O’Rourke was escorted out, Republicans on stage denounced him, including the mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, who said, “I can’t believe that you’re a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.”

Senator Ted Cruz

Cruz on Tuesday rejected calls for more control, accusing anyone calling for such action as attempting to “politicize” a tragic event.

“Inevitably, when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work, it’s not effective, it doesn’t prevent crime.”

Cruz once ran a campaign ad that boasted, “After Sandy Hook, Ted Cruz stopped Obama’s push for new gun-control laws.”

Tuesday was hardly the first time the junior Texas senator came out in support of guns right after a mass shooting. Last March, Cruz was criticized for pushing back against calls for gun control after 10 people were killed in Boulder, Colorado. “Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theatre,” he said.


Cruz tweeted on Tuesday that he was “lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Paxton rushed to defend guns after the Uvalde shooting, saying that criminals who shoot people up are unlikely to follow any gun laws.

“People that are shooting people, that are killing kids, they’re not following murder laws, they’re not going to follow gun laws,” Paxton said on right-wing cable news channel Newsmax.

Instead, Paxton said the answer to such violence was even more guns; he called for arming teachers.

Senator John Cornyn

Cornyn was part of a failed bipartisan effort last year to close loopholes around background checks for guns. But Democratic Senator Chris Murphy blamed the measure’s failure on Cornyn not budging on clarifying the definition of a commercial gun seller.

On Wednesday, Cornyn released a statement saying he had already told the NRA he was backing out of their upcoming meeting this weekend, which Cruz, Abbott, and Trump are still expected to attend, because of an “unexpected change in his schedule.”

He called the shooting “horrible” and retweeted a quote from Representative Tony Gonzales saying today was not the time to talk policy.

Representative Tony Gonzales

Though Gonzales said he wouldn’t talk about gun control policy the day after the Uvalde shooting, others were happy to point out his record.

The congressman has tweeted often in pride about voting against gun control measures.

Sahar Fatima can be reached at sahar.fatima@globe.com Follow her on Twitter @sahar_fatima.