Photo via Janel Forte
A high school student in Santa Fe, Texas opened fire on campus Friday morning, killing 10 people and injuring 10 others, while leading to renewed calls for gun control reform, stronger mental health resources, and further initiatives to secure America’s schools.
According to a report from National Public Radio, the suspect in Friday’s shooting, Dimitrios Pagourtzis — a 17-year-old student at Santa Fe High School — was apprehended after the rampage, and remains in custody as he awaits trial. After firing his weapons in an art classroom, Pagourtzis moved through the school, killing eight students and two educators. Pagourtzis carried a shotgun and a revolver, both of which were legally owned by his father.
In the aftermath of the shooting, government leaders, political pundits, and Americans around the country once again began discussing the future of gun control, with survivors of February's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida speaking out in support of their Texas counterparts. However a number of Lone Star State officials have refuted the need for legislative measures, instead holding strong to the state’s long-standing affinity for firearm culture.
During an official response to Friday’s tragedy this weekend, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took the time to ascribe blame for the school shooting on everything from violent video games to reproductive rights, but remained adamant that the state’s lenient gun laws had nothing to do with Pagourtzis’ assault.
"We have 50 million abortions. We have families that are broken apart, no fathers at home," Patrick said, according to CNN. "We have incredible heinous violence as a (video) game, two hours a day in front of their eyes. And we stand here and we wonder why this happens to certain students."
Lt. Gov. Patrick also told reporters that he believed a lack of religion in schools as well as too many campus doors had contributed to the vicious attacks.
On the other side of the coin, student activists from Parkland, Florida responded to Friday’s shooting by intensifying calls for comprehensive gun control laws that would increase background checks, restrict access to military-grade rifles, and potentially increase the national firearm purchasing age.
“This is not the price of freedom,” March for Our Lives ― the organization founded by Parkland students in March — wrote in a statement. “This is the most fatal shooting since the one at our school and tragedy like this will continue to happen unless action is taken.”
But at least one Lone Star State official is calling for increased gun control after Friday’s deadly incident.
"We need to start using the ballot box and ballot initiatives to take the matters out of the hands of people that are doing nothing [and] see that the will of the people in this country is actually carried out," Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told CBS' Face the Nation over the weekend.
In an official response from the White House, President Donald Trump offered talking points about keeping children safe at school and preventing further tragedies, but did not include any specific actions that may lead to those goals.
"My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others,” Trump said, according to NPR. “Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe."