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From Ted Cruz to Ronny Jackson: Four Times the Texas GOP Went Gaga Over Guns

Texas relaxed gun restrictions during last year's legislative session.
Texas relaxed gun restrictions during last year's legislative session. Photo by iStrfry , Marcus on Unsplash
Texans love their firearms and so do the state’s politicians. Even the Uvalde school shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers, couldn’t crush the Lone Star’s gun lust.

Conservative leaders are especially known for their Second Amendment absolutism.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott made headlines after a 2015 tweet reemerged following the Uvalde massacre. In it, he told constituents he was “EMBARRASSED” that Texas had been surpassed by California in new firearm purchases.

“Let’s pick up the pace Texans,” Abbott wrote at the time, also tagging the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the tweet.
For a moment, at least, Uvalde prompted certain politicians to get a little gun-shy.

Some who were scheduled to appear at the NRA convention in Houston, which took place days after Uvalde, ultimately didn’t go. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw were among the no-shows.

Others like Sen. Ted Cruz, though, stood their ground and forged ahead. And since then, Texas Republicans have largely returned to touting their gun credentials.

In a state with laissez-faire firearm laws, here are four of the most recent colorful gun takes.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz
Speaking three days after 21 of his constituents were fatally shot in Uvalde, Texas’ junior senator blamed several factors. Video games are too violent, Cruz insisted. Plus, bullies on social media can be really mean, and attendance in churches is on the decline, he claimed.

Notably absent from Cruz’s list was any mention of guns.

"It's far easier to slander one's political adversaries and to demand that responsible citizens forfeit their constitutional rights than it is to examine the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil,” he said on the NRA’s stage. Any doctors out there who specialize in treating cultural sickness?

U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson

This congressman’s machismo video is very on-brand for the Texas GOP.

In a tweet Sunday, U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson posted a video of himself in a red shirt and blue jeans and holding a large firearm in each hand. He said he had a message to relay to the administration of Democratic President Joe Biden.

“If you’re thinking about taking our ARs, you can start here in Texas,” Jackson said. “On behalf of all the law-abiding gun owners in the state of Texas, I just want to say: Come and get it.”

Many social media users roasted Jackson on Twitter. Some asked if he was threatening the president. Others pointed out that in the video, one of Jackson’s guns was aimed directly at his foot.
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert
Last month, Congressman Louie Gohmert spoke during a congressional hearing on gun violence, during which mass shooting survivors provided gut-wrenching testimony. One speaker was an 11-year-old Uvalde girl who escaped by playing dead and painting herself with her friend’s blood.

Some would say guns are the common denominator in each of the country’s frequent mass shootings. Not Gohmert.

“Look, maybe if we heard more prayers from leaders of this country instead of taking God’s name in vain, we wouldn’t have the mass killings like we didn’t have before prayer was eliminated from schools,” he said.
Mansfield ISD Mailers
A conservative political action committee pointed to a surprising culprit for last October's shooting at Mansfield ISD's Timberview High School in Arlington. NBC News recently reported that the PAC paid for flyers that were sent to thousands of houses around that district earlier this year.

“MISD PUT 'WOKE' POLITICS OVER THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN,” the mailers said.

The Timberview shooting reportedly started following a scuffle between two Black teens. So, the mailers blamed the ordeal on the district’s supposed lax disciplinary protocols thanks to “Critical Race Theory principles."
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter