Uvalde, TX

Opinion: The Guns Used to Shoot 19 Students & 2 Teachers Were Purchased Legally by a Teen with Anger Issues

Daniella Cressman

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Colin Lloyd

Tuesday was devastating: A classroom filled with excited, motivated, ambitious children who were so young and so full of life was targeted by an 18-year-old who seemed to have a lot of anger brewing underneath the surface—A lot of people claimed the adolescent had been a bit of a bully, and even one of his coworkers said she'd sensed an aggressive streak running through him.

The guy had apparently been isolated as his frustrations brewed, but everything indicates that he planned both the attack on his grandmother and the mass shooting.

His grandmother is now in the hospital.

Unfortunately, this teen—who most said was a bully with severe anger issues and a bit of a loner—was able to waltz into a gun shop and purchase two assault weapons. This act was totally legal in the state of Texas: He wasn't mentally ill—at least he had no diagnosed conditions—and he didn't have a criminal history, but you can rarely pick up on someone's severe anger issues during one or two transactions. Furthermore, this adolescent was purchasing weapons that were meant to kill: This sort of rifle can be used for hunting, but it is really not ideal for that activity. In short, it's primarily purchased to murder people.

"One of the guns was purchased at a federally licensed dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to state Sen. John Whitmire, who was briefed by investigators. Ramos bought 375 rounds of ammunition the next day, then purchased the second rifle last Friday." —Associated Press

Again, that transaction was totally legal in the state of Texas.

"Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle in the bloodshed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which ended when police stormed a classroom and killed him. He legally bought the rifle and a second one like it last week, just after his birthday on May 16, authorities said." —Associated Press

Although Ramos clearly planned the mass shooting that he was about to conduct, he was quite vague about the wicked ordeal: He didn't say which academic institution he was targeting—just that it was an elementary school.

That being said, these were private messages.

"But about a half-hour before the mass shooting, Ramos sent the first of three messages online, Abbott said. Ramos wrote that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman. In the last note, sent about 15 minutes before he reached Robb Elementary, he said he was going to shoot up an elementary school, according to Abbott. Investigators said Ramos did not specify which school. Ramos sent the private, one-to-one text messages...via Facebook [which] were “discovered after the terrible tragedy,” company spokesman Andy Stone said. He said Facebook is cooperating with investigators." —Associated Press

The Republican governor and democrat Beto O'Rourke had some choice words for each other, resulting in Beto being asked to leave the room.

Amid calls around the U.S. for tighter restrictions on firearms, the Republican governor repeatedly talked about mental health struggles among Texas young people and argued that tougher gun laws in Chicago, New York and California are ineffective. Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott for governor, interrupted Wednesday's news conference, calling the tragedy “predictable.” Pointing his finger at Abbott, he said: “This is on you until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen.” O’Rourke was escorted out as some in the room yelled at him, with Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin calling him a son of a [derogatary term]. —Associated Press

The problem, in my opinion, is that the debate when it comes to gun control in this country is fierce, and the gun lobby is a very powerful institution, even though many disagree with the way it conducts business. For quite a few Americans, it seems that the right to bear arms is seen as absolutely fundamental.

The truth is that restrictions and regulations are not the same as bans.

“I just don’t know how people can sell that type of a gun to a kid 18 years old. What is he going to use it for but for that purpose?” —Siria Arizmendi (aunt of victim Eliahna Garcia)

This poor aunt who lost her lovely niece during the mass shooting makes a tragic but truthful point: These weapons are not ideal for hunting; they are most suitable for mass murder, and people with malice in their hearts are likely to purchase them with the intent to kill human beings.

"The attack in the predominantly Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012." —Associated Press

My heart goes out to all of the families who have been affected by this terrible tragedy. You have my deepest condolences.

Unfortunately, many will not budge when it comes to gun control regulations, arguably making this fight harder than it needs to be.

"But the prospects for any reform of the nation's gun regulations appeared dim. Repeated attempts over the years to expand background checks and enact other curbs have run into Republican opposition in Congress." —Associated Press

Sadly, the National Rifle Association rakes in a lot of cash, and the right to bear arms—it seems—is seen as a sort of American freedom.

I suppose there would be nothing inherently wrong with that if everyone was responsible, but that is simply not the case, as has been tragically illustrated time and time again.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many politicians are (and have been) influenced by the NRA's very large budget.

"The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston, with theTexas governor and both of the state's Republican U.S. senators scheduled to speak." —Associated Press

The truth is that gun culture is strong in Texas and—while there are many goodhearted residents who want to see stricter regulations whether they own guns or not—there are still those who seem quite stuck in their ways.

After all, Texas has some of the most gun-friendly laws in the entire country. It also been home to some of the most devastating shootings in America over the past five years.

"Texas, which has some of the most gun-friendly laws in the nation, has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years. In 2018, a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, a gunman shot more than two dozen people to death during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics." —Associated Press

Furthermore, it has been documented that, generally speaking, states with stricter gun laws tend to have fewer deaths due to gun violence.

Stricter gun laws will simply make our schools safer for children. This does not mean all guns will be banned, but it does mean that teens with anger issues will not be allowed to purchase assault weapons legally and shoot innocent, young students who never deserved to die.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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