PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lawmakers around the Pacific Northwest are reacting to the horror unfolding in Texas.
At least 18 children and a teacher were shot and killed inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, according to Texas authorities, who added the suspect was also shot and killed.
Reaction to the mass shooting has been swift from lawmakers in Oregon and Washington.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor the Robb Elementary School victims from Tuesday afternoon through sunset on Saturday, May 28.
“The violent attack in Texas is devastating, and I am heartbroken. Dan and I send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the 15 individuals who were killed, and to the entire Uvalde community,” Brown said in a statement. “How many more kids, teachers, shoppers, worshippers, and people going about their everyday lives need to die of gun violence? We need Congress to act. We must work together to bring an end to these senseless acts.”
“The only adjectives left to describe yet another school shooting are ‘sick’ and ‘tired’ of conservative extremists blocking common-sense steps to reduce the risk of these atrocities ripping away the lives of children and leaving their families to grieve their devastating losses,” U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) tweeted out.
“The slaughter of children in Texas is heartbreaking and horrifying. What kind of country are we?” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeted out. “Nothing will stop all these shootings, but basic gun safety laws would prevent some. Every colleague who blocks the Senate from having a debate and vote on such measures should search their souls.”
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee said he and his wife were “devastated” upon hearing the news.
“This cannot be what normal looks like in America,” he tweeted.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) called for another push for gun safety laws.
“No one should have to endure the pain of losing a child like this,” she said. “That’s what we’re talking about here. Children. Children gunned down in their classrooms, lives cut short and families shattered. How many more lives have to be lost and how much more heartbreak must we suffer before my Republican colleagues wake up to what the majority of Americans have known for years? Gun safety laws save lives.”
The three candidates for Oregon’s gubernatorial race released statements as well.
Democratic nominee Tina Kotek said our leaders in Washington D.C. have failed and highlighted the gun legislation she helped pass as Oregon’s House Speaker.
“Yesterday, 19 children and two teachers were murdered at an elementary school. They woke up, got ready to go to school, and never made it home. This should never happen in any community,” her statement read. “As leaders in D.C. have failed to take action, I made sure as House Speaker that Oregon passed legislation to keep guns from domestic abusers, strengthened background checks for gun purchases, and required guns to be stored safely. As Governor, I won’t stop there. I’ll work to ban ghost guns, prevent teenagers from purchasing assault weapons, and require completed background checks anytime someone buys a gun. It’s not enough to offer thoughts and prayers. Oregon needs leaders who will take action to keep schools and communities safe.”
Republican nominee Christine Drazan called what happened in Texas a parent’s worst nightmare.
Drazan said Oregonians must do more to protect kids including “…investing in school resource officers and ensuring that individuals who should not have access to a classroom do not gain access to a classroom.”
Unaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson says she has a three-pronged plan: she will prioritize mental health supports, including prevention and intervention in schools. Johnson also wants to work with schools and parents locally to find out what safety mechanisms their districts need and want for their communities. Lastly, she says she would strengthen Oregon’s law enforcement.
“There is no scenario by which we need to try to take away guns from lawful owners. We don’t need to try to get guns off the streets. I think that’s a virtually impossible task, but making sure that we’re enforcing the laws that we’ve got now,” Johnson said. “In the wake of these tragedies, everybody runs to their ideological corners. And right now, the country is coming apart at the seams. We need to bring people together to find common sense solutions and end this polarization.”