The Slatest

Hours After Mass Shooting, Texas Lawmaker Rejects Any Form of Gun Control, Calls for Prayer

A mural on a wall outside a gun range following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas.
A mural on a wall outside a gun range following a deadly shooting spree on September 1, 2019 in Odessa, Texas.
Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

State Rep. Matt Schaefer illustrated just how opposed to any type of gun control many elected Republicans are when he staunchly stood up against making any changes to current law mere hours after two towns in his home state were terrorized by a gunman who went on a random shooting rampage. At a time when the death toll of the West Texas mass shooting wasn’t even clear yet, Schaefer went on a rant on social media making clear that the fact that a 17-month-old child was shot wouldn’t make him think that perhaps some gun control could be beneficial. After all, he insists, the problem isn’t the guns but evil.

Schaefer, in a post on Facebook and Twitter wrote that elected officials often hear demands to “Do something!” But he made clear what he won’t do: “I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period.” And his refusal to do anything includes things that many Americans support, including background checks and banning high capacity magazines. After all, nothing would stop a person with “evil intent,” he added.

So what will Schaefer support? More prayer, of course. “YES to praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent,” he wrote. While he was at it he would also support “fathers not leaving their wives and children” and “discipline in the homes.” The answer is, of course, more guns: “YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age.”

The problem is hardly guns but rather “godless, depraved hearts,” Schaefer wrote.
“Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus.”

As David Atkins points out in the Washington Monthly, this type of argument really raises the question of whether there are more bad people in the United States than anywhere else. Atkins explains:

Let’s leave aside the fact that no divine entity or precept of natural law gives anyone the right to own an assault weapon. Let’s also ignore the fact that it’s entirely likely that gun control solutions would have denied the Odessa shooter easy access to the firearms with which he carried out his killings.

The most interesting question here is about evil intent. If human evil is the ultimate cause of gun violence–rather than the shocking ease with which modern firearms allow tense situations to escalate into deadly violence and unbalanced individuals to become mass murderers in a matter of seconds–then presumably there must be more bad people in America than anywhere else in the world.