Texas Republicans tout gun rights, praise Sutherland Springs heroes at NRA convention

Texas’ most prominent political leaders on Friday gave full-throated support of the National Rifle Association and the right for Americans to have guns without additional regulation.

Remarks at the NRA convention by Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz had familiar themes: Gun ownership is a cherished constitutional right and “good people” wielding guns is an effective stopper of mass shootings.

“Guns can save lives,” Cornyn said.

Abbott agreed.

“The answer to gun violence is to strengthen Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Cruz said that under former President Barack Obama, people with criminal records who unlawfully tried to purchase guns were not prosecuted. Like Devin Patrick Kelley, the 26-year-old man who in November killed 26 people at a Sutherland Springs church, they fell through the system.

“The solution they are putting forward doesn’t solve the problem,” Cruz said of gun control proposals. “The answer is to go after violent criminals and come down on them like a ton of bricks.” 

The Republicans all praised the heroes of Sutherland Springs, including Stephen Willeford, a local resident and former NRA firearms instructor who ran to the scene with his AR-15 rifle and shot the gunman twice.

“Even in the fog of this horrific tragedy, the people of Sutherland Springs look me in the eye and demand that I would not allow this tragedy to take away their guns,” Abbott said. “These people understood the necessity and the individual right to keep and bear arms.”

In an interview with reporters, Cornyn said Friday that the goal of any legislation to curb gun violence should protect the rights of gun owners.


Cornyn said there were some areas where lawmakers enjoy bipartisan support, like his “Fix NICS” bill that holds agencies accountable for not properly documenting criminal histories in the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Cornyn said that focusing only on gun control, instead of mental health care improvements and fewer mistakes in tracking potential mass shooters, would be a mistake.

“The focus strictly on guns is too limited,” Cornyn said. “There’s multiple different causes or contributors to these tragedies that we all would like to find a way to solve. The answer is not to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens.”

By: Gromer Jeffers Jr.
Read the full article in Dallas News.

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