Texas Democratic official: GOP needs to 'get real' about gun reform after El Paso

A Texas Democratic party official said Monday that Republicans need to “get real” about gun reform following the deadly mass shooting on Saturday that left more than 20 dead and dozens of others wounded.

“What is not the solution is what we have seen from a number of Republican Texas politicians who refuse to engage on any conversation about substantive common sense gun reform and instead move the conversation over to hardening targets,” Manny Garcia, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party, told Hill.TV.

“They talk about video games — we need to get real about this,” he added.

Garcia said Republican lawmakers in the GOP-led state also need to take a hard look at their own rhetoric about migrants coming across the southern border.

“Many of them have used the same kind of language that this shooter used talking about an invasion in Texas,” Garcia said. “These words, they have consequences and Texas leadership needs to understand that.”

The nation is reeling from two back-to-back mass shootings over the weekend.

The first shooting took place at a Walmart in El Paso near the border in what authorities are investigating as domestic terrorism and possibly a hate crime. The second one took place less than 24 hours later in Dayton, Ohio and resulted in the deaths of at least nine people.

The gunman behind the El Paso attack allegedly published a racist, anti-immigration manifesto, warning of a Latino “invasion" just hours before the attack.

Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who left the campaign trail to return to his hometown of El Paso after the shooting, said that rhetoric from the president had contributed to the climate leading to the rampage.

"This president’s open racism is an invitation to violence," O'Rourke told MSNBC Monday. "The writing has been on the wall since his maiden speech coming down that escalator calling immigrants 'rapists and criminals.' "

A number of Texas Republicans have also spoken out following the attack, with some condemning it outright as white supremacy.

“Violence against another human being because of their ethnicity is one of the most disgusting forms of evil that exists, Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawLawmakers call for extra security for anti-Erdoğan protesters  Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising Texas investigating parental dispute into whether 7-year-old is transgender MORE (R-Texas) tweeted a day after the shooting rampage. “It must be rooted out, white supremacy has no place in this world.”

Other Republicans like Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) stopped short of calling the attack an act of white supremacy, instead referring to it as a "hate crime against immigrations," while also blaming violent video games. 

“We’ve always had guns, we’ve always had evil, but what’s changed where we’ve seen this rash of shooting? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill," Patrick told "Fox and Friends" on Sunday. 

Trump, who called on the nation to denounce white supremacy, appeared to echo these sentiments during a speech on Monday, where he also blamed mental illness and video games for mass shootings. He did not, however, mention a proposal he suggested hours earlier on Twitter to tie stronger background checks for firearm sales to immigration reform legislation. 

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society," Trump said during his 10-minute address. "This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace."

—Tess Bonn