Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the state would focus on addressing “mental health problems” behind gun violence, but didn’t address calls for gun reform after another devastating mass shooting at a shopping center this weekend.
Eight people were killed and at least seven others injured at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday after a gunman opened fire on the crowded facility. Authorities identified the shooter as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, who was killed by a police officer on the scene.
It was the second mass shooting in Texas in recent weeks after another gunman killed five of his neighbors in Cleveland, Texas, after they asked him to stop firing his weapon at home.
The twin shootings have renewed calls for increased gun control at both the state level in Texas and nationwide. But Abbott alluded Sunday the rise in gun violence is linked to a “dramatic increase” in “anger and violence,” not access to firearms, even after Fox News host Shannon Bream cited a poll showing strong support for increased gun control measures.
“What Texas is doing in a big-time way, we are working to address that anger and violence by going to its root cause which is addressing the mental health problems behind it,” the governor said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding there have been shootings “in states with easy gun laws as well as states with very strict gun laws.”
“People want a quick solution,” Abbott continues. “The long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue.”
Texas has had the highest number of mass shootings of any state in the country so far this year.
The governor has faced fierce criticism from Democrats, who have pointed to GOP-led efforts to make gun purchases even easier in Texas. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) said Sunday he was “disgusted” with the governor and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) for doing “NOTHING to keep us safe.”
President Joe Biden this weekend asked Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines after the mall shooting, saying he would sign such legislation “immediately” if it reached his desk.
“We need nothing less to keep our streets safe,” the president said.