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Greg Abbott defends century-old law that allowed 18-year-olds to buy muskets in wake of Uvalde shooting

UVALDE – “Ever since Texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has been able to buy a long gun. It’s only in the last decade or two when we had school shootings… So for a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles and we didn’t have school shootings, but we do now. Maybe we’re focusing our attention on the wrong thing.”

Those are the phrases of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott simply days after an 18-year-old highschool scholar massacred 19 college students and two lecturers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Abbott has been in the recent seat for his report on gun legal guidelines following the shooting.

He has doubled down on his stance that mass shootings will not be a problem of entry to weapons however as an alternative psychological well being — despite the fact that Abbott slashed $211 million from the state’s psychological well being fee a month earlier than the shooting.


But this explicit quote has stood out to some observers as a gaping omission or deceptive, notably in the context that an 18-year-old gunman legally bought two assault-style rifles that he used in the Uvalde shooting.

That’s as a result of the timing of an uptick in mass shootings additionally coincides with the expiration of the Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, typically referred to because the assault weapons ban, in accordance to a knowledge investigation from Financial Times.

Data reveals that the number of victims per mass shooting tripled after the ban expired.


The so-called assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, prohibited sure semi-automatic weapons — like AR-style rifles — from being manufactured or bought to civilians and likewise banned magazines that may maintain greater than 10 rounds.

There have been a number of loopholes, together with permitting the sale of semi-automatic rifles that have been manufactured earlier than the ban went into impact in 1994, however researchers have discovered that deaths related to mass shootings have been diminished, and grew quickly as soon as it expired.

Abbott made no point out of the assault weapons ban throughout his feedback.

History of assault rifles

Texas grew to become a state in 1845 — when weapons just like the Henry 1860 Rifle and rifle-muskets have been being manufactured.


It wasn’t till the Nineteen Sixties that the U.S. army chosen Colt to manufacture automated rifles, which grew to become commonplace difficulty for U.S. troops in the Vietnam War. Those weapons grew to become generally known as the M-16.

“Armed with that success, Colt ramped up production of a semiautomatic version of the M-16 that it sold to law enforcement and the public, marketed as the AR-15,” in accordance to NPR.

Colt’s patent for the AR-15 expired in the Nineteen Seventies and different producers began to make related weapons. They have been popularized in the many years that adopted.

AR-15-style rifles just like the one used in the Uvalde bloodbath have been concerned in 11 main mass shootings since 2012, in accordance to Yahoo. Two of these mass shootings have been in Texas — Sutherland Springs in 2017 and Midland/Odessa in Aug. 2019.


Assault-style rifles have been referred to because the “weapon of choice” for mass shooters in reports from CBS and Rolling Stone.

They hearth ammunition at up to thrice the pace of sound, which is succesful of liquefying organs.

They are simple to get, easy to shoot and might maintain a big quantity of rounds in every journal. Ammunition for the assault weapons, which have been designed for the battlefield, can also be comparatively low cost.

A blog post from the National Rifle Association, which has been taken down, states that an estimated 8 million AR-15 type rifles are in circulation in the U.S. The pro-gun group has mentioned the weapon is so common that “AR” ought to actually stand for “America’s Rifle.” An archived version of the article can be found here.


In Texas, 18-year-olds can buy rifles however not handguns (21 is the minimal age for pistol purchases).

Abbott, Texas has loosened gun restrictions for years

Abbott, and Texas leaders, have a steep historical past of loosening gun legal guidelines as opposed to imposing restrictions. Most not too long ago, House Bill 1927, which was handed final year, permits Texans 21 and over to carry handguns — brazenly or hid — with out acquiring a state-issued license, so lengthy they aren’t excluded from possessing a firearm by one other federal or state law.

Abbott mentioned he “absolutely” expects legal guidelines to come after the tragedy. “There will be laws in multiple different subject areas.”

He nonetheless refused to attribute the shooting to a problem of gun management.

“Let’s be clear about a couple things, that show about these back background checks. Everyone wants to seize upon a particular strategy and say ‘well that’s the golden strategy right there.’ Look at what happened in the Santa Fe shooting – a background check had no relevancy whatsoever because the killer took the gun from his parents,” Abbott mentioned. “Look at what happened in the shooting in Sutherland Springs. There was a background check that was done. It was done in a flawed way that allowed the killer to get a gun. So anyone who suggests ‘well maybe we should focus on background checks as opposed to mental health’ I suggest to you is a mistake.”


Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, despatched a letter to Abbott following his statements Friday and famous that in the previous 10 years, Texas has suffered extra mass shootings than every other state.

Gutierrez known as for Abbott to name a particular legislative session to handle gun violence in the wake of the bloodbath and had an inventory of Texas Senate Democratic Caucus calls for that included elevating the minimal age to buy a firearm to 21 and requiring common background checks for all firearm gross sales.

READ NEXT: Gov. Abbott attributes mass shootings to psychological well being points a month after reducing $211 million from psychological well being fee

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