Following the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas Republicans were quick to emphasize that the solution to our nation’s mass shootings is not common sense gun control. After 19 children had died, in lieu of working to prevent these tragedies in the future, they predictably started dancing to the tune of the National Rifle Association (and its money) instead.
Despite Senator Ted Cruz’s supposed “thoughts and prayers,” the senator attended the NRA convention in Houston days after the Uvalde shooting. While Governor Greg Abbott did not attend in person, he appeared via pre-recorded video, declaring that “laws don’t stop mass shootings.” Cruz also advocated for arming teachers instead of common sense gun laws, a policy long touted by the NRA and other gun rights advocacy groups.
The tendency of Texas Republican lawmakers to hold the voice of the NRA over the Texas people is not new. Flanked by members of the NRA, Greg Abbott signed seven bills into law in 2021 scaling back gun restrictions, including a bill that allows Texans to carry guns without a permit, despite polling data that showed that 59% of Texans oppose permitless carry. Ted Cruz, even recently, has railed against even basic background checks, falsely arguing that these checks would not stop mass shootings. This viewpoint, held by most Texas Republican lawmakers, is in opposition to the three-fourths of the states’ voters that believe Texas should require background checks before gun sales.
A simple question arises: Why are lawmakers flying in the face of public opinion and continuing to scale back gun restrictions and oppose common sense reform? Our lawmakers’ mandate is to represent the people of Texas and their constituents, but it is evident that our lawmakers are instead choosing to represent the interests of the gun lobby.
The NRA spent more money on state-level lobbying in Texas than in any other state. In fact, in the current Congress, representatives from Texas took more money from gun rights advocacy groups than representatives from any other state. Furthermore, in an analysis done by OpenSecrets spanning the 1989 cycle to now, both Ted Cruz and John Cornyn were in the top 10 members of Congress for gun rights group donations, with Cruz at number 3 and Cornyn at number 8.
It is clear that Texas Republican lawmakers are holding their personal aims and special interests above the lives of children in the state. By maintaining stances against common sense gun control despite public support for basic gun safety laws, Texas Republicans have undoubtedly demonstrated where their loyalties lie – with the NRA and their campaign donations, and not with the Texan people.