Everytown for Gun Safety, the advocacy group founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, ran a full-page ad in the Houston Chronicle Tuesday blaming Texas governor Greg Abbott’s inaction on gun control for the shooting at a Texas high school Friday.
The ad, which features a letter signed by 40 Texas high-school students, comes just days after 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed ten and injured 13 at Santa Fe High School outside Houston using a legally owned shotgun and .38 revolver he stole from his father.
“Our job is to be good students. Your job is to keep us safe. You have failed at your job,” the students wrote in the letter to Abbott. “Like so many politicians cozy with the NRA, you have steadfastly opposed any reasonable measures that might protect us from gun violence. Instead, you’ve signed dangerous policies to force public colleges in Texas to allow guns on campus and make it legal to openly carry firearms in public.
“You’ve continued to push the notion that guns everywhere for everyone make us safer,“ the letter continues. “By that logic, shouldn’t we be among the safest states in the nation?“
Abbott announced after the shooting that he would host a series of round-table discussions on school safety.
The ad, first reported by Politico, goes on to criticize Abbott’s past explanation of gun violence as the result of people who have “hearts without God.”
“Do you think that the children who were shot in class this week died because they hadn’t prayed enough? What about the 26 who were killed while they were worshiping in Sutherland Springs? Do you think they are to blame, rather than yourself and other politicians who refuse to allow even a meaningful discourse on reasonable gun violence prevention policies?” the students wrote.
In a series of interviews over the weekend Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick stressed that a legislative crackdown on gun owners must be resisted in the wake of the Santa Fe shooting, calling guns “part of who we are as a nation.” But the students focused solely on Abbott despite the similar pro-Second Amendment stance of other high-ranking Texas officials.
“You’ve said that straying from Jesus is the cause of gun violence. Well, let this be your ‘come to Jesus‘ moment,” the students wrote. “Children are dying. We’re being shot and killed in our classrooms, homes, movie theaters — even as we walk home from school. We have become collateral damage in a country whose lawmakers refuse to stand up to people who just want to sell more guns — regardless of the body count.”