In the hearts of Americans who don’t think guns are a problem | Gun Violence News

Uwald and Austin, TX – At the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual meeting, thousands of gun enthusiasts loudly applauded Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as he encouraged the crowd to stand up against “the real goal is to disarm America” ” of liberal politicians.

“The problem isn’t the guns, it’s the evil,” Cruz said.

Cruz spoke three days after an 18-year-old man killed 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers in the southern Texas town of Uvalde, the county’s deadliest school shooting in a decade. Tragedy has become a very common event.

Texas leads the nation in gun-related matters death toll According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020, more than 4,100 people died from gun-related deaths – suicides, homicides and mass shootings. A spate of horrific mass shootings has rocked Texas over the past five years.

Holocaust after Holocaust, including Rob Elementary School shooting Tuesday at Uwald.

“Texas have seen the face of evil again and again. I’ve been on the ground since these tragedies. I was in Dallas in 2016, Sutherland Springs in 2017, Santa Fe in 2018, and in 2019 In El Paso and Midland-Odessa, now Uwald,” Cruz said, citing recent mass shootings in Texas.

Despite the killings, Texas gun laws were only loosened around that time because Politicians like the NRA and Cruz.

If Texas is the epicenter of gun violence in America, Cruz may be the most prominent flag-bearer for the pro-gun movement — he represents one side of America’s polarized gun debate, with gun proponents saying the U.S. Constitution is second Amendments, in part that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be violated”.

“Nice guy with a gun”

Exile Firearms is a gun store in Uvalde, located in a virtually treeless industrial area about 200m from a US Border Patrol station.

A lifelong Uvalde resident sat in a pickup truck outside a gun store on Friday, summarizing one aspect of the U.S. gun politics debate. (The Uwald School shooter bought the gun at another store in town.)

The 24-year-old resident said any gun restrictions, including raising the legal age to buy a rifle — Texas allows 18-year-olds to buy AR-15 rifles — will be a growing one. He requested to remain anonymous, citing his employer’s policy.

“Restricting guns won’t stop that. Methamphetamine is illegal, and people will still get it,” he said.

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” the man added, repeating a metaphor often used by the NRA.

Exile Guns in Uwald, Texas [John Savage/Al Jazeera]

The day after the Uwald shooting, the NRA said in an online statement that it would “pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to keeping our schools safe.”

The National Rifle Association has use its money and influence Nicole Golden, executive director of the bipartisan anti-gun violence nonprofit Texas Gun Sense, said to drive people into a frenzy over fears the government will take their guns.

The NRA has reportedly donated at least $442,000 to Cruz’s political campaign open secret, a government transparency group. The gun group has also spent more than $2 million lobbying Texas lawmakers over the past five years to loosen gun restrictions in the state.

The group successfully promoted the rumor that guns actually make people safer, Golden said.

2021 The University of Texas/Texas Tribune opinion polls show 61 percent of Republicans in Texas, an overwhelmingly Republican state where a Democrat has not been elected to statewide office in almost three decades, believe the US would be safer if more people carried guns. Public opinion on gun rights and gun control is not monolithic.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years, and there are a lot of gun owners in Texas who don’t accept fear-based narratives,” Golden said. “They pride themselves on being responsible gun owners. They know there’s a problem, and they don’t violate common sense gun rules.”

By noon Saturday, cars and pickups filled the parking lot of the Austin Range, a shooting range and gun store in Austin, Texas, about 260 kilometers (160 miles) from Uvald. In a series of interviews, customers have expressed concerns about potential gun restrictions in the wake of the Uwald mass shooting.

“No crazy regulation”

Austin resident Adrian Ramirez, 28, who works for shipping company DHL, came to The Range to shoot with friends.

“I believe in the Second Amendment and we need to be careful with any new gun restrictions,” Ramirez said. Asked if it was possible to raise the age of buying a rifle from 18 to 21, Ramirez looked at his friends.

“That’s something we can consider,” he said.

Michael Cargill, 53, the owner of a Central Texas gun factory in Austin, said it would be misleading. “You have an 18-year-old [Uvalde] Who works on the farm, who needs a rifle to deal with wild boar and stuff like that,” Cargill said.

“A crazy person walks into an elementary school and kills a baby. Changing the law won’t help,” he added. “You can’t regulate like crazy.”

Adrian Ramirez, a 28-year-old gun enthusiast, in front of the range in Austin
Adrian Ramirez, a 28-year-old gun enthusiast, in front of the Austin Range, a shooting range and gun store in Austin, Texas [John Savage/Al Jazeera]

Advocates like Golden say what recent mass shootings have in common is easy access to guns and high rates of gun ownership in the Lone Star State — Estimated 46% of Texans live in a home with a gun — refuting the claim that guns are good people.

As many as 19 armed law enforcement officers were in the corridors of Rob Elementary School during the Uwald shooting, while the shooter was in the classroom with teachers and students, some of whom were in the classroom, Texas Department Director Steven McGraw said. People are still alive. Public Safety, at a news conference on Friday.

“Politics and Drama”

In the wake of the recent shootings, Cruz and other Texas Republican politicians continue to redouble their efforts to find “solutions” that don’t seem to be working — namely looser gun laws and more guns. Gov. Greg Abbott remains defiant after signing a law easing gun restrictions in 2021.

“Politicians from the federal level to the local level are threatening to take guns from law-abiding citizens — but we won’t let that happen in Texas,” he said in a statement. Press release.

One of those measures, the so-called Unlicensed Carry Act, allows Texans to carry handguns openly without any training or license. Adults in Texas can already carry long guns without a license. Another measure allows guests to store firearms in hotel rooms.Another legal gun silencer.

“You could say I signed some laws today that protect gun rights,” Abbott said when he signed the Carry Without License Act in June 2021. “But today, I signed the document to instill freedom in the Lone Star State.”

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, said Abbott didn’t believe the Republican rhetoric about guns, but “he was scared and he knew he had to support it to be re-elected.”The National Rifle Association has[%7B1%7Cgro=c-r-ot,d-eid” target=”_blank”>donated about $11,000 to Abbott’s political campaigns.

“The NRA has gotten Republican voters to believe guns are critically important to protect themselves from others and from their own government,” Jillson said. As for Cruz, “he always thinking about the political ramifications of what he might say. For him it’s politics and theatre”.

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‘Is this the moment?’

The day after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in this predominately Latino town of about 16,000, Cruz attended a prayer vigil at the Uvalde County Fairplex, a venue usually home to rodeos and bull riding. A scrum of reporters surrounded the senator as he was leaving and peppered him with questions.

“Is this the moment to reform gun laws?” a reporter asked.

“It’s easy to go to politics,” Cruz responded. “I get that that’s where the media likes to go.”

The reporter continued to pressure the senator. “Why does this only happen in your country? I just want to understand why you do not think that guns are the problem.”

Cruz said: “You know what … this kind of politicisation … why is it that people come from all over the world to America? Because it’s the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth.”

The senator pointed his finger towards the reporter’s chest. “And stop being a propagandist.”

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