Texas

Debate Over Gun Control Rages After Texas Elementary School Shooting

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two teachers dead

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The shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead at a Texas elementary school has reignited the debate over guns in America, much as other mass shootings have in recent years.

Mass shootings and school shootings have both been on the rise in the United States. In Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, the gunman used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle to slaughter children, authorities say.

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Penny Dean, a longtime New England gun advocate, is arguing against restrictions on guns in the wake of the tragedy.

"For me, firearms are just a way of life. They're a thing that us girls go to the range shooting for the day, and bring a picnic lunch," says Dean. "It's just a family, wonderful, wholesome activity."

Families across the nation are reeling in the aftermath of Tuesday's shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Dr. Robert Sege, a pediatrician at Tufts Children's Hospital, says these emotions can take a toll on mental health for both parents and children. He offered guidance for families who may be having tough conversations in the wake of the Uvalde shooting.

She argues that there are too many gun laws, and that the mass shooting in Texas shows people need to be able to carry guns in more places.

"We need to allow law-abiding people with firearms to have access everywhere to prevent and to protect the innocents, the children, the others," she says.

Texas' gun laws are among the loosest in the nation. A new law allows Texans to carry handguns without a license, so-called permitless carry. Before the law went into effect in September, Texans needed to be licensed, fingerprinted and trained.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says looking to tougher gun laws is not the "real solution" to the problem of gun violence. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker criticized Abbott's comments, calling them a "false narrative" while citing reports that "the majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws."

Rina Schneur, from grassroots group Moms Demand Action, says it's too easy to get a gun.

"We work every day to prevent gun violence," she says, adding that too many guns are in the wrong hands.

"We're only talking about common sense gun laws, like red flag laws, like have background checks for every gun sale," Schneur says.

It was the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that drove Schneur, from Lexington, Massachusetts to get involved in gun legislation

"Here we are over 10 years after and another event like Sandy Hook happens," she says.

Jim Wallace, from the Gun Owners Action League in Massachusetts, says the focus needs to be on mental health.

"It just proves that we haven't done a thing about mental health since Newtown to address these mass killings," says Wallace. "The common denominator is people with severe mental health issues that are dangerous are getting a hold of weapons that they shouldn't have access to."

The steering of the conversation from gun laws to mental health is a frequent refrain from gun advocates following mass shootings. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott invoked it in a press conference Wednesday, calling the gunman "demented," even as he acknowledged he is not known to have a history of mental illness.

"There was no known mental health history of the gunman," Abbott said.

The president and president-elect of the National Parent Teacher Association, Anna King and Yvonne Johnson, share advice about how to have the tough conversation about the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
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