Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | Terror in Texas | greg abbott | texas church shooter | not supposed to have gun | conceal carry

Abbott: Church Shooter 'Was Not Supposed to Have Access to a Gun'

(CNN)

By    |   Monday, 06 Nov 2017 12:05 PM

The Texas church shooter  had been "denied the ability to get a gun" when the state of Texas refused to allow him to obtain a conceal-carry license. However, one day after the shootings occurred, there remains "more unknowns than there are knowns."

"Obviously, people want answers," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott told CNN "New Day" anchor Chris Cuomo. "But equally obvious, here we are less than a day after the event happened, where there's more unknowns than there are knowns."

The governor told Cuomo that the Texas Department of Public Safety is reporting that Devin Kelley sought to get a license to carry a gun, "but the state of Texas denied him the ability to get a gun."

"He was not supposed to have access to a gun, so how did this happen?" the governor asked. "But Chris, that is just one of the unknowns out there. We are in search of answers to these questions and the answers will be coming to light here in the coming days. And before we can solve the problem, we need to know the answers to all of these multitude of questions."

Cuomo, though, argued that if Kelley was denied a permit, but was able to get the weapons he used otherwise, "that tells even the simple mind that you've got a legal inconsistency here."

"It's important that we learn what the information was and what, if anything, happened to allow him to get a gun," Abbott said. "It's the same kind of thing that you saw in New York just last week, where it wasn't a gun that was used, it was a truck that was used to mow down people in a bike lane. Same thing happened in London, where you had people using bombs to blow up a concert area or knives to stab people."

Meanwhile, Abbott told Cuomo that Sutherland Springs, Texas, is a community of only about 500 or so people, and everyone knew someone who was either killed or injured when the shooter opened fire at the First Baptist Church, killing 26 people and injuring two dozen more as they gathered for Sunday morning worship.

"It was probably the toughest thing that I've had to do as governor, to speak to these victims, to some of the words that would try to touch their hearts," Abbott said, explaining that he attended a gathering at the local community center and then a vigil held for the victims.

"This is a community of only about 500 or so people, and I think I probably spoke with most of the members of this entire community who were there," the governor said. "Everybody knew these people who were the victims of this crime and the one thing that I took away from last night is, this is a strong faith-based community. And they are relying upon their faith to strengthen them and that strength remains very strong, even today. "

Abbott said in Texas, neighbors help neighbors during a time of disaster, but Cuomo pointed out that the shootings were "not inevitable" or a "natural" disaster.

The one takeaway, the governor said, is that there is "evil in this world that we must confront," and the way to do that is "by using the forces of God to confront and overcome this evil."

Meanwhile, the state of Texas has addressed mental health issues across the state, but the nation and state must do a better job in that arena, Abbott said.

"As you know, mental health issues are very complex," he added. "Not all of them lead to shootings like this. So this is a very profound issue that our country must begin to address more profoundly."

While appearing on NBC's "Today" show, Abbott said there is information surfacing about why the church was picked, and he does not think the shooting was a random act of violence.

However, Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt said Kelley's in-laws attended the church, but were not there when the shooting occurred. They are speaking with investigators, Tackitt reported.

Abbott, in a separate interview Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America," said he does believe that the shooter was "very deranged."

"Long before he was dishonorably discharged from the United States military he was demonstrating some mental illness challenges, but also I think there was a particular reason why this particular location was targeted," Abbott said.

He told host George Stephanopoulos that he does know that it is a violation of federal law to knowingly sell a gun to someone they know had been dishonorably discharged, "I don't know if there is a gap or not whether or not that information was reported by the federal military up to the chain of command to make sure that this was information that would be accessible to federal authorities who allowed him to be able to buy that gun."

Abbott also made appearances on MSNBC, Fox, and CBS Monday.

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The Texas church shooter had been "denied the ability to get a gun" when the state of Texas refused to allow him to obtain a conceal-carry license.
greg abbott, texas church shooter, not supposed to have gun, conceal carry
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2017-05-06
Monday, 06 Nov 2017 12:05 PM
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