Lawmakers in Texas and across the country responded with prayers, calls for mental health resources, renewed vows for gun legislation and more after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at a Texas elementary school.
The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, marked the state's deadliest school shooting in modern history and the nation's deadliest school shooting since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday said in a statement "Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde."
Abbott during a press conference on Wednesday emphasized a need for mental health services and said what the victims' families "need now more than ever is our love.''
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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on Tuesday tweeted he and his wife, Heidi Cruz, are "fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde."
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, tweeted that "the entire state of Texas is in mourning," and called the incident "every parent and teacher's worst nightmare."
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Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde, on Tuesday shared "It is devastating when our innocent children become the victims of senseless violence. We are devastated."
When asked about potential gun reform measures from lawmakers, Gonzales on Wednesday told CBS Mornings "I'm happy to debate policy, but not today."
"Today, my community is hurting. You know, politicians like to divide us. Leaders unite us, and we need to be united right now as Americans."
But in the wake of the shooting, many lawmakers, mostly Democrats, in Texas and across the country have called for gun reform measures. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on Wednesday urged Republican lawmakers to back compromise legislation addressing gun violence.
"Put yourselves in the shoes of these parents just for once," Schumer said.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., gave an emotional speech in the Senate on Tuesday after the shooting, asking his fellow lawmakers "What are we doing?"
"Our kids are living in fear every single time they set foot in the classroom because they think they're going to be next. What are we doing?" he said.
"This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school, thinking that they might be shot that day. Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids, as I have had to do about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet for five minutes just in case a bad man entered that building. Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America, and it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue," he continued.
President Joe Biden on Tuesday night said "As a nation, we have to ask ourselves, 'when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby.'"
"I am sick and tired of it. We have to act," Biden said during remarks. "Don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas, US lawmakers respond after elementary school shooting kills 21