Texas Governor Skirts Questions About Gun Control After Church Shooting

Texas Governor Greg Abbott attended a candlelight vigil in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, November 5, 2017 after a shooter opened fire on a church and killed 26 people. Photo by Laura Skelding
Laura Skelding/FR171566 AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday didn’t directly answer questions about whether gun control laws should be reevaluated after a gunman opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others.

During an interview on CNN, “New Day” host Chris Cuomo asked Abbott what rules needed to be reviewed after news came out that the gunman was able to purchase a gun after being denied access to buy a firearm by the state of Texas.

“Obviously people want answers, but equally obviously, here we are, less than a day after the event happened where there are more unknowns than there are knowns, Abbott said. “How was it that he was able to get a gun? By all the facts that we know, he was not supposed to have access to a gun. So, how did this happen? That’s just one of the unknowns out there, we are in search of answers to these questions and the answers will be coming to light here in the coming days and before we can solve the problem we need to know the answers to all these multitude of questions.”

When asked again, Abbott said that the most important thing is the community’s response to the tragedy and said speaking to the family of the victims of “this heinous crime” was “probably the toughest thing I’ve had to do as governor.”

“Everybody knew the people who were victims of this crime and the one thing I took away from last night is this is a strong faith-based community and they are relying upon their faith to strengthen them and that strength remains very strong even today,” he said.

The alleged shooter, Devin Kelley, was discharged from the Air Force for assaulting his spouse and served time for the abuse. Authorities were still looking for a clear motive Monday, but reported the man’s in-laws attended the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, but weren’t in attendance on Sunday.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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