Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke interrupted a news conference on the Uvalde school shooting Wednesday to confront Texas leaders about the state's lax gun laws, prompting a heated exchange with lawmakers.
Gov. Greg Abbott had just finished delivering remarks and began to introduce Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick when O'Rourke approached the stage and called Abbott out for focusing his comments on mental health in response to the massacre instead of acknowledging the role guns played.
The former congressman said the shooting was "predictable and preventable."
"You're doing nothing," O'Rourke said.
An angered Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin criticized O'Rourke for the interruption, telling him he was "out of line" and calling him a "sick son of a b----" for trying to make a "political issue" of the shooting.
As O'Rourke was escorted out of the press conference, he turned around and said: “This is on you until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday."
O’Rourke is challenging Abbott in November’s elections.
Outside the news conference, O'Rourke continued his remarks, telling reporters parents deserve "action" as well as "prayers." He criticizing Abbott for not supporting universal background checks, red flag laws, gun storage laws and a ban on AR-15 and AK-47 firearms.
"The governor talks about mental health," O'Rourke said. "It's insane that we allow an 18-year-old to go in and buy an AR-15. What the hell did we think he was going to do with that? This one is on us."
Since Abbott became governor in 2015, the state has only gotten more relaxed when it comes to gun laws.
More Uvalde School Shooting Coverage:
Exactly one year before the Uvalde shooting, the GOP-controlled Legislature voted to remove one of the last major gun restrictions in Texas: required licenses, background checks and training for the nearly 1.6 million registered handgun owners in the state at the time.
Abbott signed the measure, which came at the end of what was the Texas Legislature's first chance to act after an attack at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics.
Abbott and both of Texas’ U.S. senators were among elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
This is a live update. Click here for complete coverage of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.