While speaking at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention on Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a bold statement about the source of gun violence.
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Friday’s meeting was the first convention since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, as well as the resulting activism in favor of gun control.
Abbott pushed back on gun control, however, arguing that “the answer to gun violence is not to take guns away, the answer is to strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
The Texas governor suggested that liberals were looking in the wrong place to prevent gun control.
“The problem is not guns,” he said, according to the Texas Observer. Instead, Abbott said that the problem was “hearts without God.” Abbott’s line reflected conservatives’ previously expressed sentiments about evil and the inability to regulate it.
President Donald Trump, who endorsed Abbott during his Friday speech, similarly suggested gun control was ridiculous.CNN/YouTube
“We are going to have to outlaw immediately all vans and all trucks, which are now the new form of death for the maniac terrorist,” Trump said during his speech.
In response, Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky ridiculed Trump’s argument as one that a 12-year-old might make on Twitter.
“That’s an argument that I very often see from 12-year-olds in my comments section,” he said while appearing on CNN on Saturday.
He also tore into Trump, calling him a “professional liar” and suggesting that Trump based his policy decisions on money:
“President Trump, he follows the money. And as long as he’s getting money from the NRA — who, in turn, is getting money from the gun manufactures — I wouldn’t expect anything common sense any time soon from him.”
The convention came amid a broader discussion about how best to prevent gun violence. While congressional Republicans resisted liberal calls for stricter gun control, they managed to pass background check legislation and a school safety bill.
Earlier this month, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) went so far as to propose legislation requiring gun owners participate in a government buy-back program for “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.”
In the immediate aftermath of the Parkland shooting, staunch gun control proponent Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) suggested ideas like Abbott’s were ridiculous.
“This idea that you can’t regulate evil is ridiculous,” Murphy said in February.
“We are absolutely shirking our most basic, foundational responsibility when we allow evil to act unabated in this country as we are with inside the debate over gun violence,” Murphy told MSNBC.