Dem Rep Criticizes Texas Governor for Not Banning Semi-Automatic Weapons

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro (D) criticized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R.) on Thursday for not recommending a ban on semi-automatic weapons to increase school safety.

"The governor, I believe, yesterday, made some recommendations on changes to improve or to decrease gun violence and increase the safety in schools. But really, if you look at those recommendations, they are really beating around the bushes," Castro said. "It doesn't include anything like banning semi-automatic weapons, or banning bump stocks, or doing universal background checks."

Earlier this month, there was a shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas where 10 people were killed. Abbott, in response, led a series of roundtable discussions on how the state can make schools safer and reduce gun violence.

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell asked about the "striking difference" in responses from the community in Texas and community in Parkland, Florida to school shootings.

"You know, one of the striking differences in Texas–in Santa Fe–has been the difference in the community reaction because of the difference in attitudes towards guns than in Parkland," Mitchell said, "in Florida, where the kids and their parents mobilized and changed the governor's position and changed the legislation. That's not been the reaction in Texas."

Castro said peoples' attitudes on guns have been changing.

"I think the nation and the American people have really been changing their positions on guns and pressing their elected leaders both in Congress and around the country, including in Texas to make change," Castro said. "The governor for the longest time, and lieutenant governor and other Texas leaders, have ignored those calls for change."

Banning semi-automatic weapons is something few gun control activists have called for. Semi-automatic firearms include all those where one pull of the trigger results in the discharge of one round of ammunition. Banning all semi-automatic weapons would include banning most handguns and the majority of hunting riffles in the country.

Castro's colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) didn't go as far in his push for gun control. Swalwell called for a ban on "assault weapons" and to confiscate existing "assault weapons" in possession of civilians.

"While I'm glad the conversation, even in my home state, has moved forward on this issue, really, what the governor is proposing is not nearly enough," Castro said.