May 7, 2023 - News

Abbott, Biden, Cruz, others react to Allen shooting

Screenshot: Fox News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the state is working to "get the guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals" during an interview with Fox News Sunday, his first public comment since a gunman killed eight people and injured seven Saturday at an outlet mall in Allen, just north of Dallas.

Yes, but: Abbott dismissed a poll showing that voters overwhelmingly want tighter restrictions on who can purchase and own guns. Abbott, who once tweeted that he was embarrassed that California had more gun purchases than Texas, said the focus should be on mental health problems.

  • He said he expects the Legislature to approve $3 billion in mental health funding during this session, which ends May 29.

The big picture: Republican leaders in Texas have shown little interest in passing gun reform legislation, despite aggressive lobbying from parents who lost children in the Uvalde mass shooting last year.

Meanwhile: President Joe Biden said in a statement that the attack is "too shocking to be so familiar." He said the country needs "more action, faster to save lives" and blamed Republican inaction.

  • "Too many families have empty chairs at their dinner tables. Republican members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug. Tweeted thoughts and prayers are not enough," Biden said.

What they're saying: Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, who co-authored the state's permitless carry law — and whose district includes part of Allen — said he's "grateful to stand by law enforcement and other local leaders to offer words of hope and healing to my hurting community."

The other side: Rep. Colin Allred, who announced last week that he's seeking to challenge Cruz in 2024, tweeted that he'll do all he can to "pass into law common sense solutions to save lives."

Reality check: Shannon Watts, founder of the gun-reform advocacy group Moms Demand Action, tweeted, "After 16 people were killed in a hot air balloon in Lockhart, Cruz authored and passed legislation improving safety rules. After mass shootings, he only offers his prayers."

  • Watts added: "That's not because laws don't work, but because there's no hot air balloon lobby funding his Senate seat."

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