A white male identified as Seth Ator went on a shooting spree Saturday in Odessa, Texas which left seven victims and the shooter dead. Per CNN, 22 people were injured by the rampage, in which the shooter opened fire down roads and the highway from his vehicle.
Per USA Today, many are calling for tightened gun control, especially in the wake of the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio mass shootings earlier this month. Others, including Texas Representative Matt Schaefer of the Texas House Freedom Caucus, believe that the answer lies outside of gun control.
“I am NOT going to use the evil acts of a handful of people to diminish the God-given rights of my fellow Texans. Period,” he tweeted. “None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent.”
“Godless, depraved hearts. That IS the root of the problem. Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus. May God be near to those suffering in Odessa and Midland, and everywhere that evil has struck a blow.”
Schaefer said he is opposed to universal background checks, AR-15 and high capacity magazine bans, and mandatory gun buybacks. He supports praying for victims and protection, fathers staying with their wives and children, discipline in homes, as well as praying to God to “transform the hearts” of individuals with “evil intent.”
The 43-year-old received a great deal of negative feedback for his comments, with many suggesting that he receives donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and claiming he is doing nothing to address the problem of gun violence.
State Rep. Matt Schaefer says "Godless depraved hearts" are the "root of the problem" after Midland mass shooting. https://t.co/ly3pe2RL7T— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) September 1, 2019
Sounds familiar: Governor Greg Abbott at NRA Convention: ‘The Problem is Not Guns, It’s Hearts Without God’ https://t.co/xGMGsNlI9C #txlege
Per The Inquisitr, Donald Trump recently spoke to reporters in the wake of the West Texas shooting and said that nothing has changed as far as talks about gun control. The Hill reports that Trump believes stricter background checks are not the answer—he claims they would not have stopped any of the mass shootings over the last few years — and claims that gun violence is a mental health issue.
“We’re looking at the same things,” he said. “It really hasn’t changed anything.”
Despite pressure for tighter gun control, Texas is set to loosen gun restrictions via a series of new laws passed by the state’s lawmakers. Per KSAT, these laws were passed with the support of the NRA and go into effect today, September 1. The laws include one that allows Texans to carry guns in places of worship — except for cases where the property uses signs to notify congregants that it prohibits firearms.