Note to Readers: Do not expect to hear this hypothetical speech by a well-known elected official. But from a common-sense point of view, it seems the least he could do for all who grieve with the 19 sets of Uvalde parents who lost their children and with the families of the two dead teachers and of all who were wounded.
Ladies and gentlemen, I arranged this press conference to make an important announcement that may have your heads spinning.
First, the background.
On June 1, I called on our legislature to create special committees to consider measures on “school safety, mental health, social media, police training, and firearm safety.”
On that last matter, I, a proud Republican and past endorsee of the NRA, am going a step further.
You heard me ask right after the shooting, “Do we expect laws to come out of this devastating crime” that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde? “Absolutely yes,” I told you.
Now I am putting my political career where my mouth was.
I am proposing to our legislature a bill requiring anyone buying an AR-15-style assault weapon in our state to be 21 years old or older.
You know me. I’ve never supported limiting gun ownership in any way before.
But after Uvalde, it dawned on me: You have to be 21 to legally buy a HANDGUN in Texas and everywhere else.
Why is there a LOWER age for machine guns? Because they are “long guns.” It used to be that long guns were only used to hunt.
Not true anymore. After Uvalde, we can’t let the law be an ass. Red-state Florida hasn’t. They require buyers of automatic rifles to be 21.
Congress is thinking about doing the same. Anyone who wants can write them.
But Uvalde happened here. We can’t wait on the feds.
My Democrat opponent will surely say, “Too little too late. Ban ALL sales of AR-15-type weapons.”
I say, “Let’s take the step Uvalde tells us we should.”
I know I also said last Wednesday that the shooter at Robb Elementary had a mental health issue and that we should do a better job on mental health.
Then I saw that our country has 100 times the gun killings per person as in the United Kingdom. I realized that we can’t possibly have 100 times the mental illness as England.
You might think this is all politics, me moving to the center because my opponent, Beto, is a progressive. Sure, think what you like. But this could end my political career.
Many of my fellow Republicans may call me disloyal for breaking ranks. They may not vote for me. I will be labeled an enemy of the Constitution and liberty.
But remember: In 1975, the NRA’s Fact Book on Firearms Control supported laws that “control all machine guns and destructive devices.” That’s all I am proposing.
We Republicans laud the original Constitution. But the Founding Fathers who wrote the Second Amendment by citing militias did not envision the street sale of military automatics.
Back in 1791, firearms meant muskets and other weapons that shot one bullet at a time and required constant reloading. And the Founding Fathers did not even make the vote available to 18-year-olds, much less cannons, the weapons of destruction of their day.
So I stand on constitutional principles now when I say “Let’s stop selling assault weapons to teenagers.”
We Republicans know the history and the realities. We just don’t want the Beto O’Rourkes of the world in power.
I love this country. Assault weapons in the hands of teenagers will only have other other communities grieving like Uvalde.
I want and need the people’s vote to continue serving Texas as your governor. If you’re 21, you can count on me not to be coming after your guns.
See, I’m not proposing what my fellow Republican Congressman Chris Jacobs, also endorsed by the NRA, proposed last week – banning ALL private citizens from buying machine guns. He’s from Buffalo, where an 18-year-old with an AR-15 style rifle killed 10 innocent Black shoppers last month.
I’m proposing exactly what my friend, Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, has said he is open to.
But if my stance protecting schoolchildren from teenagers buying machine guns ends my time in office, I accept the will of the people. I will proudly continue to serve our state any way I can as a private citizen.