The Republican lawmaker, who is among the top recipients of campaign contributions from gun lobbyists, said Tuesday that he and his wife were “fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde” after at least 19 children and two adults were killed by a lone gunman at Robb Elementary School.
No matter how many mass shootings afflict the nation, Cruz has long opposed efforts to enact gun control measures. Even after Tuesday’s massacre, he told reporters he did not believe gun law reforms were the solution and called it an effort to “restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”
It’s the same playbook he uses after most mass shootings. Last year, after multiple people were killed in Boulder, Colorado, and in Atlanta, Georgia, Cruz accused Democrats of “ridiculous theater” because they called for gun control measures, such as universal background checks, as a response.
The House has passed legislation that would mandate universal background checks for gun purchases, a measure that polling shows 90% of Americans support. The bill has stalled because of Republican resistance in the Senate.
On Tuesday, prayers aside, Cruz proposed adding more armed law enforcement officers to school campuses.
Texas is one of the nation’s top three states with the most mass shootings over the past 20 years.
Instead of tightening gun laws, the state has relaxed them in recent years. It has some of the loosest regulations in the country.
Cruz is slated to speak at a National Rifle Association conference in Houston on Friday, along with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, former President Donald Trump and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).
In the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received more than $300,000 from gun rights supporters, making him the top recipient in Congress in that period, according to Open Secrets.
His reaction Tuesday was widely condemned, including by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who noted his upcoming speaking gig.
“You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead,” she tweeted.
Other reactions have been compiled below.