In a recent appearance at the National Rifle Association convention and in the face of growing threats to Second Amendment rights, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asserted his continued support for the right to bear arms. The convention, held in Dallas, was the first major meeting the NRA has hosted since the Parkland massacre and subsequent torrent of nationwide gun control activism.
In a series of powerful remarks, Abbott offered up his take on the root cause of gun violence in the United States, making it clear that law-abiding gun owners should not be punished for the murderous actions of others.
“The answer to gun violence is not to take guns away,” he declared before an assembled crowd of about 5,000. “The answer is to strengthen the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Despite a massive, student-led movement to usher in a new era of gun control, Abbott said that solutions should be sought on a more cultural and spiritual level.
“The problem is not guns,” he reiterated, according to the Texas Observer. Instead, Abbott suggested that the real issue comes down to “hearts without God.”
President Donald Trump, who also addressed the NRA convention, similarly rejected the idea of banning firearms.
“We are going to have to outlaw immediately all vans and all trucks, which are now the new form of death for the maniac terrorist,” the president said, highlighting what some perceive as flaws in the gun control argument.
Many of the event’s speakers argued that it is a simple matter of “wherever you have a bad guy with a gun, you need a good guy with a gun to stop him.”
At least two of those addressing the crowds used Texas shooting hero Stephen Willeford as a prime example of this. The NRA shooting instructor confronted Sutherland Springs Church shooter, Devin Kelley, during a mass rampage last November. Willeford engaged Kelley in a gun battle, forcing him to flee.
“He had an AR-15, but so did I,” the Texan told the NRA in a video that was aired at the convention.
Stephen Willeford, the Sutherland Springs resident who shot church attacker last year, comes out to standing ovation.
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) May 4, 2018
“Another challenge that we’re facing is the attack on our Second Amendment rights. Now, liberals tell us that we don’t need guns because government is going to protect us,” Gov. Abbott continued, as reported by Statesman.com.
“Tell that to the Texans who have to confront MS-13 gang members. Tell that to the homeowners whose houses have been broken into by burglars. Tell that to Stephen Willeford from Sutherland Springs, Texas.”