Texas GOPers Punt On Gun Control After El Paso; Point To Mental Health, School Prayer

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Texas Republicans have been steadfastly avoiding the topic of gun control in the wake of the El Paso shooting on Saturday that left 20 people dead, instead placing the blame on mental health, video games, and even lack of school prayer.

“I think we need to focus more on memorials before we start the politics,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) told reporters on Saturday when asked about his stance on gun legislation.

Abbott later said that the state needed to better address mental health issues as a solution to mass shootings, though so far authorities have not determined that the El Paso gunman suffered from any mental illness. They are, however, investigating whether or not the gunman published a hate-filled manifesto that raved against Latino immigrants.

Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick acknowledged the shooting as a potential hate crime during a Sunday interview on “Fox and Friends,” but he also blamed the “video game industry” and how “we won’t let our kids even pray in our schools.”

“We have to look at ourselves as a nation, that’s many factors that go into these shootings, many factors,” Patrick said. “And it’s not time to politicize, it’s a time to look deep inside of who we are as a country, where we no longer salute our flag or we throw water on law enforcement.”

“As long as we continue to only praise God and look at God on a Sunday morning and kick Him out of the town square and our schools the other six days of the week, what do we expect?” the Texas Republican asked later.

When CNN reporter Jake Tapper pointed out to El Paso mayor Dee Margo the pattern of mass shootings in Texas, Margo said the question of why that might be the case “didn’t even cross my mind” after the shooting in his city.

Sen. Ted Cruz (TX-R)’s only comment on massacre so far has been several tweets about how he and his wife were “praying” for the shooting victims.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who is traveling to El Paso, tweeted that “Focusing on law abiding citizens excersizing [sic] their constitutional rights solves nothing. We need to treat these crimes as problems to be solved, rather than one to be exploited for partisan political gain.”

Tapper noted that Abbott, Patrick, Cruz, and Cornyn all declined to appear on “State of the Union” on Sunday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), whose state experienced a deadly shooting in Dayton early Sunday morning, also turned down Tapper’s request for an interview.

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