Greg Abbott blames ‘anger’ not guns for Texas mall shooting

·3-min read

Texas Gov Greg Abbott blamed a rising “anger” in American society as he responded to calls for action after a horrific mass shooting occurred at an outlet mall in his state Saturday evening.

The Republican governor was speaking on Fox News Sunday as he faced scorn and derision from critics online over a 2015 tweet urging residents in his state to buy more guns and overtake California in terms of rates of new gun ownership.

On Sunday, Mr Abbott pointed to the rise of mass-casualty attacks involving guns in both Republican- and Democrat-controlled states as evidence of a wider problem that he argued would not be fixed (or even stemmed) by tougher restrictions on guns.

"One thing that we can observe very easily and that has there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that's taking place in America,” he concluded.

But in the same interview, he suggested solutions like the ones that lawmakers in his state are now pursuing – namely, legislation to restrict firearm ownership from “dangerous” people, including criminals. Texas, meanwhile, has been struggling to best implement laws that its leaders have already passed in this vein, thanks to opposition from gun rights groups.

New legislation aimed at doing just what the governor described has for years been a non-starter in the US Congress; only recently did the body finally pass a bill strengthening background checks on gun purchases and providing grants for states to create and fund new “red flag” laws. That legislation, as significant as it was for the typically passive Senate, has done little if anything to stem the tide of shootings that have wracked America’s communities. It was also opposed by more than half of the Republican Senate conference, though notably not by GOP Leader Mitch McConnell.

The state of Texas has seen several major incidents of gun violence just recently, and on Saturday saw at least eight people killed at an outlet mall by a suspected gunman who was shot dead by police.

Mr Abbott’s office referred to the Allen, Texas, shooting as an “unspeakable tragedy” in an initial statement pledging resources to the town in response.

On Twitter, meanwhile, Democrats resurfaced his 2015 tweet and blamed GOP cheerleading of gun ownership for the present state of the American gun violence epidemic.