UVALDE, Texas – Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, leader of the Catholic archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas, called for additional gun regulations on Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday’s deadly elementary school shooting in Uvalde.
Asked by reporters outside Uvalde High School whether his desire to see governments do more to protect their constituents includes support for tougher gun ownership rules, García-Siller said, “Of course! Of course! Because anything that can be connected with death and aggression – We have to, we’re supposed to promote life, the life of people.”
García-Siller, whose religious jurisdiction extends to Catholic parishioners in Uvalde, went on to note that preventing gun violence should be just as urgent for Catholics as opposing abortion.
“It’s people’s lives!” García-Siller declared. “We have to be consistent in our ethics – at least, as Catholics.”
“If somebody who is married has five children – so we are more concerned just about the one in the womb?!” he continued. “We are concerned about the one in the womb, and their children, and the grownups, the elderly, the sick, the incarcerated, the death penalty, the human dignity.”
“You, as a human being – we are different people but we have the same dignity,” García-Siller added.
García-Siller was outside of the high school after attending a press conference about the school shooting held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), other elected officials, and senior law enforcement figures.
During the press conference, Abbott cast aspersions on the idea of responding to the tragedy with additional gun regulations. He instead emphasized plans to expand access to mental-health treatment in the state.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Abbott in November, interrupted the press conference to shame Abbott for failing to advance stricter gun rules.
But García-Siller, who was slated to pray with the families of children killed on Tuesday, declined to directly criticize Abbott’s stance on gun regulation.
He did voice disagreement with Abbott’s remarks calling the perpetrator of the shooting “pure evil.”
“Who has the right to say that somebody is evil? The action is evil,” he said. “But I don’t have any power, not even given by God, to say that a person is evil.”
García-Siller maintains that the deceased gunman, Salvador Ramos, could achieve forgiveness from God for his crime.
“God is beyond us,” he said. “His mercy is His name.”