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Guns in Texas

A gun and a prayer: How the far right took control of Texas’ response to mass shootings

The “God-given right” to self-defense has become a rallying cry in Texas politics, further cementing gun ownership as a holy cause and political identity. The state’s Republican leadership has spent decades carrying the banner.

People walk into the NRA Annual Meeting as people protest behind them Friday, May 27, 2022, at George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. (Justin Rex for The Texas Tribune)
Workers remove debris from Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen the day after a gunman shot and killed 23 people on Oct. 16, 1991.
Exterior view of Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen where the shooting took place.

From sport to self-defense

Former state Rep. Suzanna Hupp, R-Lampasas, speaks at the Bexar County Courthouse with then-Gov. Rick Perry looking on in San Antonio on Jan. 6, 2005.
Former President Donald Trump greets Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA during the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston on May 27, 2022.
People protest the NRA Annual Meeting along Avenida de las Americas in front of George R. Brown Convention Center Friday, May 27, 2022, in Houston. (Justin Rex for The Texas Tribune)

“God-given” guns

State Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, at his desk on the House floor on Aug. 12, 2021.

What comes next

Students are evacuated out of Robb Elementary School during a mass shooting in Uvalde on Tuesday. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in Texas’ deadliest school shooting.
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a press conference at Uvalde High School on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 in Uvalde. Twenty one people were killed after a gunman after a high school student opened fire inside Robb Elementary School on Tuesday where two teachers and 19 students were killed.

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State government Dan Patrick Greg Abbott Gun rights Mass shootings Texas Legislature