The U.S. is mourning the deaths of 19 elementary school students as well as two teachers in Texas' latest mass shooting. Democratic governors are urging for more gun restrictions.
Many Republican governors emphasize a different solution: increased security in schools.
The division among the nation's governors mirrors the partisan split that has prevented action in Congress and many state capitals from taking appropriate actions to address the record-breaking number of gun-related deaths in America. These political differences are deeply rooted in the country's history, and highlight the tensions between liberty, life, and constitutional rights as spelled out by the nation's founding documents.
The Associated Press questioned governors from across the U.S. about their belief that states are responsible for reducing mass shootings and violence with guns after Tuesday's massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
The AP was responded to by about half of the governor's offices. They all agreed that they had a responsibility and should do what they could. Both Democrats and Republicans agreed that it was important to invest in mental healthcare services and training to assist those who might be prone to violent outbursts.
However, the commonality ended generally after that.
Semi-automatic guns should not be purchased by anyone younger than 21 years old. Limit ammunition magazines to 10 bullets
Many Democratic governors said yes.
"If you don't care about guns, you aren't serious about crime prevention." "I think that's more so today than ever before," stated Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, Connecticut, was the Connecticut resident who killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School a decade earlier.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, the Pennsylvania Governor, stated that he supports both limits on bullet capacities and the purchase semi-automatic weapon. He joined gun control advocates in Philadelphia Friday, while blaming the Republican-led Legislature of his state for failing to pass his gun proposals.
Wolf stated that "they would rather succumb in a cravenly to gun manufacturing lobby than to commonsense legislation that would prevent children from dying."
Only Vermont Governor was among the Republican governors that responded to the AP. Phil Scott supported such gun control measures. Scott signed 2018 legislation that limited the size of firearm magazines and raised the age at which you can buy guns to 21. There are exceptions for those 18 to 20 who have completed a firearms safety course.
Other Republican governors either ignored the AP's specific gun-control questions or opposed them. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy was a staunch "no" to setting age or bullet limits that could violate constitutional rights.
Dunleavy's office stated in an email that "stricter gun laws aren't a solution to the problem - it is important that we focus our attention upon the status of mental illness in our communities."
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine stated that he wouldn't endorse gun-control measures because he doesn't believe they will pass in Ohio's GOP-led Legislature. DeWine, a Republican proposed instead spending "a significant sum of money" to protect schools from potential attacks. DeWine didn't specify exactly what security would look like.
Republican governors were more inclined to support school security measures. The Associated Press asked about the proposals to arm teachers, staff and security guards with firearms or secure schools with metal detectors and fencing.
Republican Governor. Kristi Noem, South Dakota, denounced gun control calls as "garbage", and supported increased school security measures.
"Why are we protecting our celebrities, our banks and our stores with armed guards but not our kids?" They are not our greatest treasure?" Noem asked.
Republican Governor. Kim Reynolds, Iowa's Republican Governor, also spoke out about possible school safety measures while speaking to reporters on Friday.
She said that the state is looking at ways to strengthen schools and was also discussing conversations with state resource officers. Later, she added: "Maybe one entrance into the school system, making sure educators are trained."