AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three days after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the National Rifle Association gathered for its annual meeting 300 miles away in Houston.
While several Texas lawmakers backed out of the convention in the wake of the shooting, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did not.
“Uvalde is strong. Texas is strong. And the entire country stands alongside the men and women who are grieving in Uvalde,” Cruz said. For roughly 30 minutes, Cruz talked about the Texas mass shooting and what he believes are solutions.
“Let’s focus on what works: Stopping the bad guys, imprisoning violent criminals and protecting our vulnerable,” Cruz said.
Cruz advocated for the following: Only having a single point of entry in schools, having armed guards at that point of entry, putting bulletproof and locking doors on classrooms, making sure felony gun convictions are reported to all national databases, creating a gun crime task force to prosecute felons or fugitives who try to buy firearms illegally and authorizing school safety grants.
“What stops armed bad guys is armed good guys. The media blames you, the millions of members of the NRA for these crimes. That is a lie,” he said. “Nobody here has committed these kinds of unspeakable crimes. Everybody here is horrified.”
Earlier this week, State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin) said the governor could call a special session to require universal background checks, pass a ‘red flag’ law and raise the minimum age to purchase a gun. She said she doesn’t think he will.
“I am a parent,” she added in a statement. “I have been on the phone with other parents today and yesterday who feel like we are in a game of Russian Roulette. No one is safe. Who will be next? What will we do?”
“The Uvalde shooter, and I won’t use his name … that son of a b—h passed a background check,” Cruz said Friday in front of NRA members.
While Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) was expected to be a key speaker Friday, he announced he would be staying in Uvalde instead of attending the conference. Instead, he sent a short video recording to be played in front of NRA members.
“We urge everyone here today, everyone across the country to pray for those in Uvalde,” Abbott said. He also reinforced his notion that banning or restriction access to guns would not have prevented this tragedy.
“The gunman committed a felony under Texas law before he even pulled the trigger,” Abbott said, referring to possessing a firearm on school property. “What he did on campus is capital murder,” he continued, which “would have subjected him to the death penalty in Texas.”
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Friday morning he would be avoiding the conference altogether.
“While a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and an NRA member, I would not want my appearance today to bring any additional pain or grief to the families and all those suffering in Uvalde,” Patrick said.