By Grace Lieberman / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
After a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas this week, lawmakers in Arizona are speaking out about gun control.
18-year-old Salvador Ramos reportedly attacked his grandmother before using a legally-purchased AR-15 semi-automatic rifle to storm Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
21 people were gunned down in America’s deadliest school shooting since 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut a decade ago. A border patrol agent ultimately killed Ramos at the scene.
Private messages on Facebook found after the killings showed that Ramos had talked about doing all this less than an hour beforehand. He’d also purchased a second firearm last week.
The shooting comes just weeks after two deadly shootings across the nation. On May 14 in Buffalo, New York, 10 Black people were killed at a supermarket by a shooter seeking to target Black communities.
The man arrested for the Buffalo shooting was highly vocal on social media about his racist views before livestreaming the massacre.
That same weekend in California, another man critically injured four people and killed one at a church, allegedly motivated by hatred for Taiwanese people. The perpetrator reportedly acted alone, but had previous ties to a group opposed to Taiwan’s independence from China.
There have been 213 mass shootings in 2022 and this is at least the 30th in a K-12 school this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive and a CNN tally.
Arizona lawmakers gave condolences to families of those killed and spoke out about gun control in the wake of the shooting.
Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) said in a statement that he feels for the families of the victims. Kelly’s wife and former congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in an attack in Tucson in 2011.
“Gabby and I are heartbroken for these families who just had their lives forever devastated by gun violence,” Kelly said in the statement. “I know how helpless a person can feel when their family is impacted in this way.”
Rep. Jennifer Longdon (D-Phoenix), who lost the ability to walk when she was shot in an unsolved attack in 2004, held a moment of silence when the House of Representatives convened instead of giving the invocation.
Longdon said that everyone experiencing gun violence deserves a moment of reflection, “but it is not enough.”
Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags on state buildings to be lowered to half-staff for the rest of the week in memory of the victims. Ducey said his prayers are with the school’s community.
“Today’s events are heartbreaking and soul-wrenching. We are thankful for the heroic efforts of medical professionals, law enforcement and community members who responded so quickly," Ducey’s statement said.
The Republican governor and staunch second amendment proponent also shared a similar statement on Twitter, but didn’t make any comments on gun laws.
Social media was the main platform where politicians held conversations and made statements in the wake of the shooting.
Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego used twitter to blast other lawmakers for their comments on the shooting and failure to do their jobs.
“We have surrendered our communities and our children to an endless parade of tragedy,” Gallego wrote Tuesday. “Enough with the thoughts and prayers: we must take action and confront gun violence.”
Gallego also blasted Ted Cruz for his comments accusing Democrats of “politicizing” the event and proposing armed police be placed at elementary schools.
When California Rep. Darrell Issa Tweeted that his “thoughts and prayers” were with the victims families, Gallego replied “F-- your prayers.”
“They haven’t worked for the last 20 mass shootings how about passing laws that will stop these killings,” Gallego said.
In a series of Tweets, Gallego explained how the weapon used in Tuesday’s shooting is far different and more deadly than the average hunting rifle.
“Everything about this weapon is designed to kill as many people as fast as possible,” Gallego said.
Gallego also called out fellow Arizona official U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for her statement expressing heartbreak while stalling legislation.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly,” Sinema Tweeted. “No families should ever have to fear violence in their children's schools.”
Unless she is willing to break the filibuster “to actually pass sensible gun control measures,” Gallego said, she should “just stop.”