It’s been five years since a boy fatally shot 10 people and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School in Texas, and despite an ongoing outcry from the victims and local residents, along with calls for stricter gun measures, lawmakers have done nothing to improve the state’s mass shooting crisis, critics say.
On Thursday morning — the fifth grim anniversary of the shooting — President Joe Biden remembered the victims and called out Congress for failing to pass any significant gun control legislation.
“One of the lasting tragedies of the shooting at Santa Fe High School ― and too many other devastating school shootings ― is the refusal by Congressional Republicans to enact meaningful legislation to stop gun violence,” part of Biden’s statement says. “Guns are the number one killer of kids in America, and it’s within our power to stop this epidemic. Yet, from Columbine to Newtown to Parkland to Uvalde to Nashville and so many other shootings in between, our schools are routinely scenes of gun violence instead of the safe spaces they should be.”
Biden went on to say that he is trying to “maximize the impact of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act,” which expands background checks and establishes new criminal offenses.
Little has been done to enact gun control since the mass shooting, especially in Texas. Since the Santa Fe mass shooting, Texas has been the site of some of the country’s highest-profile massacres, including the one in Uvalde that killed 21 people a year ago and, most recently, the one at an outlet mall in Allen, north of Dallas, that left nine people dead. Still, lawmakers tweeted their condolences for the Santa Fe families but didn’t offer any plans for gun control.
GOP Rep. Randy Weber, who represents Santa Fe in Congress, tweeted Thursday that the Santa Fe mass shooting “forever changed” the city.
“Today marks the 5-year anniversary of the shooting at Santa Fe High School, where 10 innocent lives were lost at the hands of evil,” Weber tweeted. “We will never forget that tragic day that forever changed Santa Fe, Texas.”
Weber spoke on the House floor Thursday, saying there are steps to secure Texas schools without “infringing on our citizens’ Second Amendment rights,” such as enhancing school security systems and hiring retired police officers to serve as school resource officers.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) tweeted he would “double the number of police officers” at schools to keep students safe.
“Five years ago today, Santa Fe was shaken to its core and forever changed,” Cruz tweeted. “Eight beautiful, young lives and two dedicated educators were taken from us and many others were injured in a tragic act of evil.
“I will continue fighting to enhance school security and to double the number of police officers on campus to keep our children safe.”
Rhonda Hart, whose daughter, Kimberly, was killed in the Santa Fe shooting, tweeted on Wednesday that Texas politicians don’t care about gun control.
“As tomorrow is the five year mark I feel need to say this: Cruz, Abbott, Patrick, and [Weber] have done nothing for families of Santa Fe,” she tweeted.
Dan Patrick, Texas’ lieutenant governor, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not put out statements. Abbott’s Twitter feed was full of tweets about “reckless open border policies.”
Allison Anderman, senior counsel of Giffords, an organization fighting for gun safety, told HuffPost that Texas has a lot of mass shootings because of its population, guns per capita and its “extremely weak laws” that create more gun violence, including a Stand Your Ground law that “emboldens” people to “shoot first and ask questions later.”
In Texas, gun laws have expanded the areas where people can openly carry firearms, including at airport baggage claims, in parking areas and at houses of worship.
“The state legislature is still dominated by people who are very extreme on the issue of guns, so until the state elects different people to represent them, people who want to make a change on this issue and are unwilling to accept the status quo of doing nothing, then it’s going to be an uphill battle,” Anderman said.