Three hundred miles from Uvalde, raw divisions over gun rights in Texas were made plain on Friday as hundreds of gun control supporters demonstrated outside a National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston . Inside, Mr. Trump and others blamed “evil” and an array of social ills for the attacks, but not easy access to guns.
Mr Abbott pulled out of speaking in person at the convention and instead traveled to Uvalde amid growing anger over revelations that the police response had been delayed to confront and kill the shooter.
The Roman Catholic archbishop of San Antonio, whose territory includes Uvalde, said the NRA should have canceled its meeting in Houston. “The country is in mourning, but they are not,” Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller said in an interview, calling the embrace of guns a “culture of death among us.”
Vincent Salazar, 66, whose granddaughter Layla was killed in the Uvalde attack, said he had kept guns in his home for 30 years to protect himself. But as he mourned the girl who won three blue ribbons at Robb Elementary’s Field Day, he said he wants lawmakers to at least raise the age to sell long guns like the AR-style black rifle. -15 used in the murder of his granddaughter.
“This freedom to carry, what has it done?” asked Mr. Salazar. “It killed.”
Several parents and loved ones of Uvalde’s victims said they want Texas politicians to follow the example of six states that raised the age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. But proponents of gun rights are challenging those laws in court and recently won a lawsuit. victory after an appeals court overturned California’s ban on selling semi-automatic weapons to young adults.
Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn was killed inside Robb Elementary, carries a gun and fully supports the Second Amendment, having learned to shoot semi-automatic rifles at 18 when he enlisted in the US Army. But he said the killing of Jacklyn and so many of her fourth-grade friends should force politicians to toughen gun measures.
“There should be much stricter laws,” he said. “Buying a gun at 18 is kind of ridiculous.”
Although many Uvalde residents have said they want to focus their attention on the victims, the conversation about guns reverberated throughout the city. Kendall White, who guides groups on hunting trips, helped cook at the fundraising barbecue for relatives of victims of Friday’s attack.