An 18-year old high school student opened fire at Uvalde, TX, elementary school May 24, killing at least 19 students and two adults, including a teacher, before he was killed by law enforcement. The young man reportedly shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School, dressed in body armour, where he used two assault-style rifles purchased at a local gun store within a week of his 18th birthday. At least three children—a 9-year-old and two 10-year-olds, one in critical condition—were taken to University Health in San Antonio for treatment in the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, 10 years ago.
Below is a collection of press statements, speeches and reactions on social media.
Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr.
“I want to send my most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the children and teacher who were murdered today. As a father of triplets and anti-gun violence advocate, this mass shooting affects me on a personal level. We have got to stop this insanity and obsession America has with mass shootings. These were children who were at school, a place that is supposed to be a safe haven for them to learn and develop. Yet, it appears there isn’t a single place in the country that is safe from the evils of domestic terrorism.
We have passed bills in the House to conduct better background checks. We are ready to prevent terrorists and criminals from getting guns and murdering innocent Americans. Yet, the Senate does nothing and legislatures around the country do nothing. We are still mourning the victims of the horrific and racist mass shooting in a Buffalo, NY supermarket last week. I don’t know what else has to happen for people, and especially Republican elected representatives, to realize that gun violence and domestic terrorism is a serious threat to the safety and stability of our country. We must take this threat seriously and do everything we can to protect all Americans.”
Gov. Phil Murphy
“In the wake of last week’s shooting in Buffalo, yet another horrific and unacceptable act of gun violence took the lives of 14 innocent children at an elementary school in Texas. As a father, my heart is broken for the families who are reeling from this senseless, horrific tragedy. There is no greater responsibility than protecting our children – and our nation is failing this most basic test.
“The American people are waiting in exasperation and terror as members of Congress sit on their hands rather than pass nationwide gun safety legislation. And the U.S. Senate needs to confirm Steve Dettelbach without delay as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to ensure that the federal agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s gun laws has the strong leadership it needs to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
“I introduced a comprehensive gun safety 3.0 package over a year ago and this moment demands that our Legislature finally take action. This legislation will not only make it harder for guns to fall into the wrong hands, but will also give law enforcement greater tools to protect communities – including our children – from gun violence.
“Let us not delay even one day more.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer
“From the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to the racist attack in Buffalo, New York and in Laguna Woods, California, these are vicious and vile acts that go against everything our country should stand for. I’m heartbroken for the victims and their families. More than that, I’m beyond angry. No parent should have to worry about the safety of their kids in school. No American should worry about being shot at the grocery store because of the color of their skin. We must work together to bring an end to gun violence in our communities, and we must remain committed to fighting back against hate.”
New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin
Nothing about this is normal. We do not have to accept that we live in a country where children are shot just for going to school. My heart goes out to the families of the victims, and we must all do everything we can to end the epidemic of gun violence.
The safety of our State’s residents—including and especially our children—is my top priority. Tonight, joined by New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Callahan, I spoke with law enforcement officers from across the state to ensure coordination in the aftermath of this tragedy. I also directed the New Jersey State Police and our 21 County Prosecutors to increase law enforcement presence at schools throughout New Jersey effective immediately. The State Police will increase their presence at the schools where Troopers are the primary law enforcement. The County Prosecutors will direct their municipal police departments to likewise increase law enforcement presence at schools throughout their jurisdictions.
Our students, their families and caregivers, teachers, and school administrators should feel safe in school, and be assured that New Jersey’s law enforcement
Rep. Donald Norcross
“It’s one of those days. Six years ago Sunday was the anniversary of when 60 members of the House of Representatives decided they needed to do something in addition to what wasn’t happening in Congress. That was the Orlando nightclub shooting. The frustration was so high that we, representatives of working men and women, needed to do something. Six years ago.
“We see our phones – 14 children slaughtered, and an adult. You gotta say, ‘What the F is going on?’ It’s absolutely remarkable what’s going on in our nation and somehow, we can’t do anything about it.
“Well, let me tell you, we aren’t even allowed to study it because of laws that were put in place prior to many of us being able to change that. So, gee, go study the issue. But somehow it’s: put your head in the sand and say, ‘We just can’t do it, it’s just people.’ Well, I don’t buy that bullshit – excuse me – I don’t buy it at all.
“I understand hunters. I’ve worked with them. I used to hunt. But at no time did we think hunting included people. That we needed those weapons of mass destruction which are designed to do nothing but kill people – those automatic weapons, you don’t need that for sporting.
“That looking into somebody’s background to say that they may be a potential problem, we’re not even doing that. ‘It’s not the guns, it’s the people.’ How many mass knifings do you see? No, the weapons have a lot to do with it. And we as a country, given all that’s going on in the world and there’s just a ton of it, slaughtering children? Seven-year-olds.
“I thought Sandy Hook was unbelievable and it was. King’s Highway, 1975-ish: Cherry Hill had a mass shooting. I remember that growing up, the office building down there. Camden City: Unrah was considered the first mass shooting of modern times. Buffalo: two weeks ago, in a supermarket.
“I was in Boulder, Colorado, a week and a half ago. Our national labs for renewable energy are out there and we were visiting, and my colleague Ed Perlmutter, as we’re driving up to the lab, points out a supermarket. Nine months ago that’s where his mass shooting was. Virtually every member can talk about a mass shooting in their district.
“This isn’t a Republican or a Democratic issue. But it is an issue of the United States of America. There is no country in the world that comes even remotely close to what happens here. And we have to be mature enough, open enough to take a look at ourselves – yes, to study it – and do something about it.
“As they say: If not now, then when? So please, let us all have a conversation, a debate, with adults in the room to say, ‘How can we look at this?’ And do what’s right for our children.”
Rep. Mikie Sherrill
The news of Robb Elementary School…has made me increasingly furious at people in this country that continue to elect representatives who (1) refuse to address this horrible level of gun violence and (2) put all of our children in danger.
We are living under a tyranny of the minority: extremists who fail to pass laws that provide even the most basic of protections.
I can’t tell you the number of votes I’ve taken to enact gun safety legislation because I care about our children, I care about our vets, I care about victims of domestic violence, and I care about people with mental health issues.
I am more concerned about thoughtfully addressing this unacceptable level of violence than pandering to NRA extremism. And if you care about our children, you need to hold your elected representatives accountable.
Rep. Albio Sires
My heart breaks at this senseless loss of life. I am thinking of the families and loved ones of those killed, and the entire Uvalde community. This should not be happening. School should be a place of learning and growth for our kids, not one of fear and death.
Rep. Tom Malinowski
“I am anguished beyond words. We should not be the only country in the world where parents have to fear that their children will be shot dead in school. And we do not have to be. As Americans, we all pray for the families of these children. But as a member of Congress, I was sent here to act, not to mourn or pray.
Here are some of the proposals I believe we should act on now. All are supported by the majority of the American people and are consistent with laws already in place in the state of New Jersey.
- Enact H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, to require universal violent history checks for every gun sale or transfer.
- Enact H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban, to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines so that mass shooters cannot outgun our police officers.
- Enact H.R. 1146, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, to end the ‘Charleston Loophole,’ which allows for the sale of a firearm to move forward if a background check is not completed within three business days.
- Enact H.R. 748, Ethan’s Law, to require safe storage of a firearm if there a child or person with mental illness in their home, and establish penalties for violations.
- Enact H.R. 2377, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, to restore red flag laws so law enforcement can intervene or confiscate firearms with judicial order when an individual is at risk of harming themselves and others.
- Enact H.R. 3015, the Raise the Age Act, to restrict the sale or transfer of semiautomatic military-style rifles, such as an AR-15, to individuals under 21 years of age.
- Enact H.R. 1494, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, to close the ‘Boyfriend Loophole’ that allows abusers and stalkers access to guns.
This tragedy was preventable. There are commonsense gun laws that have been proven to work in New Jersey, but that we have chosen not to enact for the nation as a whole. We must now make the decision to save the lives of our children, teachers, worshipers, grocery store shoppers and loved ones.”
Sen. Bob Menendez
Once again we are faced with the heartache and despair of witnessing a mass shooting that takes the lives of children who — like any other kid in America — went to school to learn, not to be executed.
“Let us be clear. Every mass shooting is the result of a policy failure. Guns — especially assault weapons equipped with high capacity magazines — don’t belong in our communities, and in no circumstances should those who seek to do harm with such weapons have greater rights than the nation’s children to whom we have a precious obligation to protect.
“While our thoughts and prayers are with each one of the families that are grieving this unimaginable loss, we must go beyond thoughts and prayers and take action. Every day that goes by without commonsense gun reform is a setback in our ability to promote American virtue and values to the rest of the world.
“I have three granddaughters. One is in elementary school now – in kindergarten. She goes through active shooter drills. What are we waiting for? There must be some common ground on which we can ultimately come together to prevent these senseless acts of violence.”
Sen. Cory Booker
This news is horrific and devastating. If children are not safe at school, the Senate is failing at its most basic constitutional duty. It is far past time to act.
New Jersey Education Association officers, President Sean M. Spiller, Vice President Steve Beatty, and Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson
“While we do not yet know all the details of today’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, we know that it is a horrible tragedy involving more than a dozen victims. Once again, children and educators are dead and injured, families are devastated, and a community is in shock and mourning. We join Uvalde and America in grief and anger over this senseless violence.
“We also join millions of Americans across this country in calling for strong measures to better protect our children and our communities from this preventable epidemic of gun violence.
“To those who say it is ‘too soon’ to call for action, we say only that it is too late for the victims in Uvalde, but not too late to protect other children across America from similar tragedies in the future. Our children—and all Americans—deserve to be safe in school, at home and wherever else they go. Our nation owes it to them to ensure their safety.”
8th Congressional District Candidate Rob Menendez
“The reports coming in from Uvalde, Texas, about a mass shooting at an elementary school that took the lives of 14 young children and a teacher are absolutely devastating. The shooter was only 18 years old, just like the perpetrator of the supermarket massacre in Buffalo last week. It is incomprehensible that after Virginia Tech, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland, that absolutely nothing has been done on the federal level to stop these massacres.
“For as long as the NRA and its bought-and-paid-for politicians block all meaningful gun safety reform in D.C., none of our children, our parents, brothers, sisters, family, or friends will be safe from gun violence, whether in a school, a place of worship, or a supermarket. We are not safe, and this has to end. We cannot accept a reality in which disturbed individuals have easier access to weapons of war than they do mental health resources.
“One dead child is one too many. That today 14 children and a teacher have senselessly lost their lives is beyond tragic. We must stand up to the gun lobby and its enablers to save lives and stop this bloodshed. While it has been said too many times, and unfortunately will be said many times hereafter, my heart aches for each child, teacher, parent, and family member impacted by today’s shooting, as my heart also aches for our country.”
President Joe Biden
I had hoped, when I became President, I would not have to do this again.
Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened see their friends die as if they’re on a battlefield, for God’s sake. They’ll live with it the rest of their lives.
There’s a lot we don’t know yet, but there’s a lot we do know.
There are parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same.
To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away. There’s a hollowness in your chest, and you feel like you’re being sucked into it and never going to be able to get out. It’s suffocating. And it’s never quite the same. And it’s a feeling shared by the siblings, and the grandparents, and their family members, and the community that’s left behind.
Scripture says — Jill and I have talked about this in different contexts, in other contexts: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” So many crushed spirits.
So, tonight, I ask the nation to pray for them, to give the parents and siblings the strength in the darkness they feel right now.
As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?
It’s been 3,448 days—10 years since I stood up at a a grade school in Connecticut, where another gunman massacred 26 people, including 20 first graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Since then, there have been over 900 incidents of gunfires reported on school grounds.
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Santa Fe High School in Texas. Oxford High School in Michigan. The list goes on and on.
And the list grows when it includes mass shootings at places like movie theaters, houses of worship, and, as we saw just 10 days ago, at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.
I spent my career as a senator and as Vice President working to pass commonsense gun laws. We can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy. But we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled.
The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong.
What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?
Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick.
And the gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them the most and largest profit. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.
Here’s what else I know: Most Americans support commonsense gun laws.
I just got off my trip from Asia, meeting with Asian leaders, and I learned of this while I was on the aircraft. And what struck me on that 17-hour flight — what struck me was these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world.
Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?
Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies?
It’s time to turn this pain into action.
For every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It’s time to act. It’s time — for those who obstruct or delay or block the commonsense gun laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget.
We can do so much more. We have to do more.
Our prayer tonight is for those parents, lying in bed and trying to figure out, “Will I be able to sleep again? What do I say to my other children? What happens tomorrow?”
May God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day. And may the Lord be near the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit, because they’re going to need a lot of help and a lot of our prayers.