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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz receives sharp backlash for comments in wake of Uvalde school shooting

Messages of condolences have been rolling in after a gunman shot and killed more than a dozen children at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday. That includes Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who represents the state where the shooting occurred, and he’s receiving sharp backlash for his comments that critics thought seemed to prioritize gun rights over human life. 

At least 19 children and two adults died after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos carried out a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.  

Shortly after news of the shooting began circulating, Cruz released a statement which said in part, “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the entire Uvalde community during this devastating time and we mourn the lives that were taken by this act of evil.” 

That comment, which Cruz also published to his Twitter account, immediately drew criticism. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) replied with, “Aren’t you slated to headline a speaking gig for the NRA in three days—in Houston, no less? You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead.” 

Cruz is in fact scheduled to speak at the National Rife Association’s (NRA) leadership summit in Houston over Memorial Day weekend. 

He’s also received $176,274 in campaign contributions from the NRA, according to Brady United, a nonprofit advocating for gun control. 

In Washington, D.C., Cruz spoke with reporters and said Democrats and the media propose solutions that “try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work, it’s not effective, it doesn’t prevent crime.” 

Cruz continued to say that targeting felons and fugitives and those with mental illness is a more effective strategy in preventing crime. 

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) also had choice words for Cruz, tweeting at the Texas senator, “F— you @tedcruz you care about a fetus but will let our children get slaughtered. Just get your ass to Cancun. You are useless.” 

Gallego was referencing when Cruz flew to Cancun, Mexico, while his home state of Texas experienced a severe power outage that left millions of Texans without heat or electricity in February 2021.  

The backlash didn’t end there; Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement advocating for gun control, also singled out Cruz’s actions on gun rights

“After 16 people were killed in a hot air balloon in Lockhart, Texas, Ted Cruz authored and passed federal legislation improving safety rules. But after the shootings in El Paso and Santa Fe, he blamed mental illness for gun violence.

“Thank God there’s no hot air balloon lobby.” 

Giffords Law Center, another gun reform advocacy group, also noted on Twitter that “Texas has seen tragedy after tragedy, but Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have done the unforgivable: block even the most commonsense gun reform at every turn.” 

As recently as April, Cruz introduced a Congressional Review Act Joint Resolution of Disapproval in response to President Biden directing the Department of Justice to issue a series of proposed rules limiting gun access

It included a rule that would stop the proliferation of “ghost guns,” make clear when a device marked as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle and publish model red flag legislation for states that would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms. 

“Democrats would love nothing more than to shift the blame and stoke anti-gun sentiment, and create a national gun registry in the process,” said Cruz in a statement. 

Though the federal government has implemented age restrictions on when Americans can buy a gun, laws vary across the country.  

In Texas, you must be 18 to buy a handgun or long gun, according to Giffords. However, there is no age restriction on who can be in possession of a handgun or long gun. 

The Hill has reached out to Cruz’s office for comment.  

Tags Ted Cruz Texas Uvalde school shooting Uvalde shooting

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