Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) canceled an in-person appearance on the National Rifle Association convention in Houston on Friday and can as an alternative travel to Uvalde, Texas to talk after the deadly massacre at an elementary school that left 21 people dead.
Abbott will hold a press conference just three days after an 18-year-old gunman stormed into Robb Elementary School and killed 19 young children and two teachers. A spokesman told The Dallas Morning News the governor would speak concerning the “state’s ongoing efforts to support the Uvalde community.”
Abbott will still provide a pre-recorded video to the conference, and the NRA’s website still lists the governor as a speaker, alongside other top Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and former President Donald Trump.
Abbott has faced fierce criticism in recent days for his regular efforts to loosen gun regulations and encourage gun ownership. Statistics show that child gun deaths in Texas have doubled under his tenure, and the state has essentially the most gun deaths amongst children within the nation.
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) confronted the governor at a press conference on Wednesday, telling Abbott and other officials that they had done “nothing” to forestall gun violence.
Other top Republicans within the state have rejected Democratic calls for common sense gun reform after the attack, as an alternative floating ideas for more guns to arm teachers, or efforts to fortify schools and limit entrances and exits.
Trump said Wednesday he would head to the NRA convention as planned.
“America needs real solutions and real leadership on this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” the previous president said in an announcement after the Uvalde shooting. “That’s why I’ll keep my longtime commitment to talk in Texas on the NRA Convention and deliver a crucial address to America. Within the meantime, all of us proceed to wish for the victims, their families and our entire nation – we’re all on this together.”
Abbott, too, has rejected calls for stricter gun laws, lambasting them as ineffective despite overwhelming support for such laws nationwide.
“I hate to say this, but there are more individuals who were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas,” Abbott said Wednesday. “And we’d like to appreciate that individuals who think that, well, perhaps if we just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to unravel it, Chicago and LA and Recent York disproved that thesis. So in case you’re in search of an actual solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about, it’s not an actual solution. Our job is to give you real solutions that we will implement.”