The Slatest

Houston Police Chief Says He’s “Hit Rock Bottom” With Pro-Gun Views After School Shooting

Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial after a vigil at Texas First Bank near Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas.
Flowers are left at a makeshift memorial after a vigil at Texas First Bank near Santa Fe High School on May 19, 2018, in Santa Fe, Texas.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has been calling for action over the string of mass shootings in the United States. But when that shooting happened at a high school close to his city on Friday, Acevedo said he’s had enough and wrote a Facebook post that quickly went viral because it seems to express the frustration many people feel at the lack of action from political leaders every time there is a new mass shooting.

“Today I spent the day dealing with another mass shooting of children and a responding police officer who is clinging to life. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve shed tears of sadness, pain and anger,” Acevedo wrote. “I know some have strong feelings about gun rights but I want you to know I’ve hit rock bottom and I am not interested in your views as it pertains to this issue.” Acevedo told the New York Times he had received “overwhelming positive feedback” to his Facebook post.

He asked his Facebook friends to not post anything about how the problem doesn’t have to do with guns themselves. “My feelings won’t be hurt if you de-friend me and I hope yours won’t be if you decide to post about your views and I de-friend you,” he wrote. Acevedo specifically criticized “the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing.”

He expanded on that train of thought Sunday during an interview with CBS’ Face the Nation, saying it was time for voters to kick out of office all elected officials who do nothing but offer thoughts and prayers after mass shootings.

“Let me tell you, people at the state level and the federal level in too many places in our country are not doing anything other than offering prayers,” Acevedo said. “We need to start using the ballot box and ballot initiatives to take the matters out of the hands of people that are doing nothing that are elected into the hands of the people to see that the will of the people in this country is actually carried out.”

When it comes to concrete suggestions, Acevedo said the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas called to attention the need for stronger laws on how guns are kept in the home. The suspected gunman, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, used weapons his father owned legally. “If you have firearms in your home and you do not secure them and you don’t secure them in a manner that can preclude someone from grabbing them and taking them and carrying out this carnage” then there “is a criminal liability that attaches,” he said.