A teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas — the site of a mass shooting that left 19 children and two adults dead — was left skeptical after the state’s Republican governor paid the community a visit.
Arnulfo Reyes, a teacher at Uvalde, told CNN that he thought the governor’s visit on Monday was “all for show,” expressing doubt that any concrete action would be taken to prevent future mass shootings.
“I felt like it was just a political thing, I don’t think they cared,” Mr Reyes said. “I think it was just it’s all for show. … If he would have cared, he wouldn’t have done the NRA (convention) in Houston after our tragedy.”
Texas governor Greg Abbott did not actually attend the NRA convention on 27 May, but he did appear in a recorded message played at the event.
According to Mr Reyes, he asked Mr Abbott why the state’s minimum gun purchase age had not been raised from 18 to 21. The guman who attacked the elementary school was 18 and purchased two firearms legally around the time of his 18th birthday.
“I asked him about the age limit … why do we still have it at 18? Why couldn’t it be moved to 21?” Mr Reyes said. “He said that they had found it unconstitutional to change the age or something like that.”
Mr Abbott’s spokesperson said that he has met with more than two dozen families in Uvalde since the attack, and will continue to meet with them ahead of the coming school year.
The governor said he intends to ensure that all the state’s schools are safe and claimed that Uvalde schools would have more security than most others.
That tracks with the latest from Uvalde’s school board, which announced it planned to improve security at the school. That will include hiring additional officers for the district police force, which had five members on the day of the shooting.
Police waited for more than an hour outside the classroom in Robb Elementary on the day of the shooting. While they waited, the gunman killed children inside. Eventually a Border Patrol unit ignoring police orders charged the room and killed the gunman.
Despite the school board’s announcement, parents in Uvalde are skeptical. They questioned the board’s transparency about its upcoming security changes.
Frustration is still strong among Uvalde residents, according to local broadcaster KRDO. An NRA fundraiser planned in the nearby town of Hondo was forced to move when its rental agreement was revoked, largely due to an angry backlash from community members and Uvalde residents.
Jazmin Cazares, who spoke at the council meeting concerning the rental, said the fundraiser would be a “slap in the face” to Uvalde families.
“It is a slap in the face to all of Uvalde, especially the ones that lost a loved one, some of us being here today. What’s an even harder slap in the face is the AR-15 you get if you donate $5,000 to the NRA,” she said.
Nikki Cross, whose relative Uziyah Garcia was killed in the shooting, noted that the gun the fundraiser was giving away was the same type of weapon used in the shooting.
“What happened to love thy neighbour? Is that not a thing here? The specific gun that they are giving away in this, what if that falls into the hands of another angry 18-year-old?” Ms Cross said. “Then it could be your children that are at risk and we would stand with you. I am just asking that you postpone it. Give us time to grieve. We are going through enough already.”
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