As the families and school community at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, continue to mourn the 19 children and two adults killed by an 18-year-old gunman, Queens politicians are calling for immediate gun reform following what is now considered the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012.
Reports said that the shooter, identified by law enforcement as Salvador Ramos, barricaded himself inside one of the school’s classrooms on the morning of May 24 and used an AR-style rifle to shoot the children and teachers inside, before Texas police eventually broke into the classroom and killed him.
Officials did not disclose a motive for the shooting but reported that the Uvalde resident bought two AR-style rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition after he turned 18. Days before the shooting, Ramos allegedly posted disturbing messages on social media saying that “kids should watch out.”
Queens elected officials took to Twitter to express their shared grief for the young lives that were lost to senseless gun violence, with many of them calling for common-sense gun regulation and reform for the country.
Editor’s note: Early reports said that 14 children were killed, which is referenced in several lawmakers’ tweets, but the confirmed number is 19 children.
Borough President Donovan Richards questioned why “we accept living in a society where our children surviving math class or our seniors surviving the grocery store check-out line isn’t guaranteed,” in reference to both the Robb Elementary shooting and Buffalo supermarket shooting that happened just 10 days prior.
Why do I get to tuck my son safely into bed tonight while 14 Texas families will be making plans to bury their babies?
Why do we accept living in a society where our children surviving math class or our seniors surviving the grocery store check-out line isn’t guaranteed? https://t.co/LiByfP6d65
— Queens Borough President Donovan Richards (@QnsBPRichards) May 24, 2022
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, who has also been working locally to get ghost guns off of the streets, asked what it would take for the country to change its gun control laws.
How many more children and innocent lives have to be lost for us to see gun control laws changed?
— Donovan Richards Jr. (@DRichardsQNS) May 24, 2022
“How do politicians who obstruct life-saving, common sense gun and healthcare legislation sleep, knowing elementary school children have died as a consequence of their choices?” Senator Jessica Ramos said on Twitter.
How do politicians who obstruct life-saving, common sense gun and healthcare legislation sleep, knowing elementary school children have died as a consequence of their choices?
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) May 24, 2022
Senator Michael Gianaris called the government a “failure” for not appropriately responding to mass murder with gun reform laws.
Our system of government is so horribly broken as it relates to gun violence.
When these mass murders occur over and over with no response from Washington, our government is a failure. https://t.co/5gEvzhLR4X
— Sen. Mike Gianaris (@SenGianaris) May 24, 2022
In response to Texas Congressman Tony Gonzalez, who referenced a Bible verse from the Gospel of Matthew in his tweet for the Robb Elementary victims, Congresswoman Grace Meng countered back with a Bible verse of her own.
— Grace Meng (@Grace4NY) May 25, 2022
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said that the “idolatry of violence” in the country “must end.”
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.
It is an idolatry of violence. And it must end.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 24, 2022
Read reactions from more lawmakers in Queens:
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz:
We don’t want your thoughts and prayers. We want real gun reform that keeps our children alive. When is our country going to wake up and finally put their lives first?
— Catalina Cruz, Esq. (@CatalinaCruzNY) May 24, 2022
Senator Leroy Comrie:
Broken hearts are not enough. Thoughts & prayers are not enough. We cannot allow this to become normal or allow ourselves to go numb to the profound pain these shootings cause. pic.twitter.com/KU9S3q8Lrs
— Leroy Comrie (@LeroyComrie) May 24, 2022
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:
I am absolutely devastated to learn that another mass shooting has occurred in this country. We have been here too many times before. Less than a week ago, we gathered to memorialize the people shot at a grocery store in Buffalo.
— Carl E. Heastie (@CarlHeastie) May 24, 2022
City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams:
I am heartbroken by the senseless killing of at least 18 children and two teachers in Texas. The irrational access to guns for people who want to inflict harm, whether it’s in Texas, Buffalo or New York City, is literally killing our children and families across this country.
— Adrienne Adams (@NYCSpeakerAdams) May 25, 2022
Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán:
It doesn’t have to be this way. There arent words for the depth of callousness, greed, & apathy it takes for this country’s leadership to see gun violence & continue to fail so resoundingly. Our commitment to inaction is killing people every day. Today it was 14 beautiful babies. https://t.co/ILs2u9j8Vu
— Tiffany Cabán (@tiffany_caban) May 24, 2022
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein:
Heartbroken to learn of the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. We must not become numb to these preventable tragedies. Our nation must act to end the scourge of gun violence. My thoughts are with the families and the entire Uvalde community. https://t.co/d2wXeI5VCE
— Ed Braunstein (@edbraunstein) May 25, 2022
Councilwoman Sandra Ung:
“My heart goes out to the families of the 14 kids and the teacher killed inside an elementary school today by a deranged gunman in Uvalde, Texas,” Councilwoman Sandra Ung said. “It’s been 10 years since Sandy Hook, and little has changed. We can and must do better to protect our children. It is time for the nation to treat gun violence as the epidemic and public health crisis that it is. Americans shouldn’t have to worry when their kids leave the house that they might not return, and the status quo on gun violence is unacceptable.”