New York politicians demand action after Texas shooting

Gun Rights

New York’s elected officials displayed a wide spectrum of emotions in the wake of a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that left at least 18 children and three adults dead.

The attack comes just nine days after a shooter targeted Buffalo’s Black population, killing ten, and on the day a suspect in a daytime fatal shooting on the Q train surrendered to police.

“You should be able to go to school, and to church, and to the grocery store without needing to worry that you’re not going to come home,” Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted. “It’s past time to put an end to these needless tragedies.”

Mayor Eric Adams called for more powers for law enforcement agencies.

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“This is fueled by America’s toxic gun culture. The response is not meeting the threat,” Adams tweeted. “Law enforcement is getting guns and killers off the street. They need the power to keep them off.”

The third-ranking Republican in Congress, upstate Rep. Elise Stefanik, said in a tweet “our hearts absolutely shatter for the families suffering unimaginable heartbreak and for the entire community. Pray for Uvalde.”

Stefanik drew criticism from Democrats and Republicans last week after investigations into the Buffalo shooting revealed the gunman’s alleged manifesto said he was motivated by the racist ideology known as “replacement theory.” The theory claims there’s a plot to diminish the influence of white people in the country through immigration. Stefanik ran campaign ads in 2021 claiming Democrats were planning a “permanent election insurrection” by granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants she said would then become Democratic voters.

Bronx and Queens Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized conservatives for labeling themselves “pro-life” in the debate over abortion, while also opposing gun regulation.

“There is no such thing as being “pro-life” while supporting laws that let children be shot in their schools, elders in grocery stores, worshippers in their houses of faith, survivors by abusers, or anyone in a crowded place,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It is an idolatry of violence. And it must end.”

The progressive lawmaker also pointed out Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is slated to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston this weekend. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot and former President Donald J. Trump are also scheduled to attend.

“You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

Other New York officials cited religion as they called for more than the “thoughts and prayers” typically offered by elected leaders in the aftermath of tragedies.

“The scriptures demand righteous anger at injustice. It’s not a suggestion, it is a command,” Brooklyn state Senator Zellnor Myrie tweeted. “Jesus flipped tables in the temple when he saw injustice. Find your table. Flip it. Today.”

“Please pray together with me for them,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani tweeted. Earlier in the day, on Spectrum News’ “Capital Tonight,” Giuliani said in reference to the Buffalo shooting “I don’t know if necessarily going after the Second Amendment is the right path on this one.”

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams had ire for conservative politicians he says enable gun violence across the country.

“Conservative politicians will try to conceal this crisis, and the Supreme Court is poised to make it easier to carry concealed weapons of war, to further facilitate mass murder of our kids and neighbors,” Williams said in a statement. “And we cannot allow them to deny their role in either the mass shootings that make national news or the daily reality of gun violence that makes communities ache.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said “We don’t have to be a country that lets mass shootings happen at our schools over and over and over again.

And Tuesday evening, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added a bill to the Senate’s legislative calendar that would tighten background check loopholes. 

Back in Albany, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie pleaded for action.

“I am outraged that once again, this country’s obscene fascination with guns and assault weapons has taken the lives of innocent children in a place where they should feel safe,” the Bronx lawmaker said in a statement. “I am begging this country to have a conversation about this gun crisis.”

His counterpart in the state Senate, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, asked in a statement, “When will this country wake up and take meaningful action?”

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