On Thursday, Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez joined Don Lemon Tonight in Uvalde, Texas, and spoke about the school shooting earlier in the week that left 19 children dead. Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, put the blame for the massacre squarely on the GOP, who blocked debate in the United States Senate on a bill that includes gun policy earlier in the day, just as it had done late last year after a school shooting in Michigan. Gutierrez pointed out that Republicans have complete control of policymaking in Texas.
“There’s no way in the world that an 18-year-old kid should access a militarized weapon like it happened in this situation,” Gutierrez said, “and I put that on people who are in power in Texas and it’s the Republican Party. They control the House, they control the Senate and they control the governor’s seat.”
The National Rifle Association (NRA) spends millions in campaign contributions, mostly to Republican lawmakers. Gutierrez wondered if this explains their lack of action on gun control, and levied quite an accusation at his GOP colleagues.
“I don’t know what fascination Republicans have with the guns, or with the NRA, or with the money,” Gutierrez said. “But this is what they do session after session, and they are killing babies in our country.”
Some Republicans have come out and blamed the shooting on mental health issues, not issues with gun legislation, but Gutierrez isn’t buying it. In the case of the Uvalde massacre, there’s no evidence yet that the shooter had a history mental health issues.
“Yeah, it was a sick, mentally ill young man. I get it,” Gutierrez said. “But at the end of the day — and yeah, we certainly need to do more about mental health in our state — but at the end of the day, if he didn’t have access to militarized weapons that you see in Afghanistan, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Gutierrez also spoke about talking with grieving citizens of Uvalde, and reiterated that what happened there was the direct result of actions taken by lawmakers.
“They don’t want to talk to me. They don’t want to talk to you. They’re just in shock, they’re destroyed,” Gutierrez said. “They’re destroyed, and the decisions that policymakers have made over the course of the last several years have culminated in this — in this.”
Don Lemon Tonight airs weeknights at 10 p.m. on CNN.
Watch a Uvalde father tell Anderson Cooper that he learned of his daughter's death from her blood-soaked friend:
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