Uvalde congressman grilled for lack of answers


(NewsNation) —  Will a Congressman who represents Uvalde, Texas, support certain gun control measures following the shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two adults dead? NewsNation’s Leland Vittert pushed to get an answer Tuesday night on “NewsNation Prime.”

Congressman Tony Gonzalez is a Republican representing Uvalde, Texas. He has voted against gun control measures in the past. His stance on certain, individual elements of HR7910 remains unclear.

HR7910, also known as the Protecting Our Kids Act, aims to do the following:

-Raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 to buy semi-automatic rifles

-Attempt to ban large-capacity magazines at the federal level

-Ensure “ghost guns” are subject to existing federal regulation

Vittert asked Gonzalez for his take on specific gun control concepts in the following exchange.

Vittert: “I don’t have to tell you that there’s a big push to learn how to keep guns out of the hands of people who might do this. Very simply, if the age to buy a weapon like this was raised to 21, this wouldn’t have happened. Is there a reason to start putting those kinds of gun control measures on the table?”

Gonzalez: “I’m for all of the above. Bring it all to the table.”

Vittert: “I’ve watched some of your interviews and it’s great to say ‘bring them all to the table,’ but at some point, you’ve got to think about what actually you would be in favor of supporting. Raising the age to buy rifles to 21 – Is that on the table for you, something you could support?”

Gonzalez: “You know where it starts, it starts with leadership in the House. Nancy Pelosi is not bringing people to the table. In the Senate, Senator Murphy and Senator Cornyn, they’re coming together. They’re having the conversation. In the House, no one has called me. No one has asked my opinion.”

Vittert: “Congressman, that’s why I’m having you here to ask your opinion. So, raise the age to 21?”

Gonzalez: “What I’m talking about in Congress, in the House of Representatives, we need to come together. We need to have these discussions to figure everything out.”

Vittert: “By all means. But if you can’t answer the question here, how are you going to answer it to Democrats who control the House of what you’re willing to support and what you’re not willing to support?”

Gonzalez: “What I’m not willing to support is HR7910, which is what we’re debating this week. This is a package that essentially does nothing to solve the Uvalde crisis. I mean, it doesn’t tackle it at all. These are old bills, all partisan, you know they’re all Democrat bills. They’re using this as an opportunity. We’re not having a real conversation. We’re not talking about mental health. I’ve advocated for mental health. Let’s start there and build out from there. My community is hurting. We’re trying to heal. We’re trying to build and go from there. None of that is happening in the House. I’m all about solutions. Let’s bring a solution to the table and have a conversation.”

Vittert: “I understand that, Congressman. At some point, there’s going to be a discussion of solutions even in the Senate about some of the issues that I’ve brought up with you. Of these four things: three-day waiting period, minimum age raised to 21, red flag law, bump stock ban – Is there any of those that you can say right now that you support?”

Gonzalez: “HR7910 is doomed to fail this week. It has a 0.00 percent chance.”

Vittert: “No argument there, Congressman. I guess my question is – How is blaming Democrats and continuing to say no one will talk to me, I’m asking you pretty direct questions that you won’t answer. I understand the politics of it, but how is that being part of the solution?”

Gonzalez says he supports increasing mental health resources and that he can only vote on bills that are brought to the floor. He said there’s much more to learn about what happened during the massacre.

“There are certainly a lot of questions. We need to learn. We need to figure out how can we learn from some of the different errors that happened in Uvalde. How do we get stronger? How do we increase training? How do we increase mental health facilities? How do we lock doors?  All those things,” Gonzalez said.

Democrats want to hear more from an 11-year-old Uvalde shooting survivor. Miah Cerillo said she covered herself in a classmate’s blood and played dead in order to protect herself from being shot at Robb Elementary School. She is slated to testify before Congress on Wednesday.

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