On Sunday, a horrific mass shooting at a baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killed 26 people. Following the shooting, many people are once again calling for enhanced gun control measures to prevent future gun violence atrocities from occurring. In response to this demand, conservative commentator and Texas resident Tomi Lahren tweeted related to the Texas shooting and gun legislation — and was promptly shut down by a fellow Texan for suggesting that the state of Texas does not want to reform its gun laws.
Lahren's tweet boldly suggested that people in Texas do not desire gun legislation reform, saying "If you think it’s wise to lecture Texans on gun laws, I’m guessing you haven’t spent much time in Texas."
In response, Brandon Friedman, a Texas resident as well as the former deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, chastised Lahren for making generalizations about the state and its citizens, saying, "Hi. Gun owner here. Also a former gun user. I live in Texas. Our gun laws are counterproductive. Try to not speak for an entire state."
Friedman also took Lahren and others who oppose gun control legislation to task for their oft-cited argument that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a "good guy with a gun."
This argument is often used by the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a rationale for why more civilians should be armed — and was first coined by the NRA's vice president, Wayne LaPierre, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in 2012. The argument was once again brought up following the Texas shooting on Sunday, since an armed civilian shot at the mass shooter as the latter was fleeing from the church.
On Twitter, Friedman also condemned this good guy with a gun narrative, implying that it is selfish and does not save lives. As Friedman put it, "Being the good guy with a gun is a selfish hero fantasy for so many 'sheepdogs.' It's not about keeping the flock safe. If it were, they'd be focused instead on policy solutions that would stop mass killings before they occur. Like restricting access to guns."
In addition to Friedman, others also condemned Lahren for her tweet about gun laws, including some of her supporters. Indeed, one Twitter user replied to Lahren, "I’m often on your side, but when it comes to this gun debate - NO. Laws need to be overhauled." Other Texans also commented on Lahren's tweet, with one saying, "I was born and raised here. If I’m ever killed by gun violence, I would hope that my murder would lead to common sense gun legislation." Another Texas resident also added, "Was born and raised there. I, and my 6-generation Texan parents, will lecture ALWAYS. Because this is insane and immoral."
Lahren did not appear to engage with those who responded to her tweet, but instead continued to tweet additional thoughts about gun control in the wake of the Texas shooting. In another tweet, Lahren condemned "liberals" for demanding limitations on access to guns, saying "Didn’t hear liberals asking for a truck ban after last week’s terror attack, yet they think stripping away our gun rights is the answer now." Lahren also later shared a video clip of her chastising those demanding enhanced gun legislation following the Texas shooting, in which she strongly decries these efforts, saying:
All of you sick people using [the Texas church shooting] tragedy to push your gun control agenda, yet again, need to ask yourselves an honest question: Do you think someone who busts into a church to murder people give a flying you-know-what about gun laws?
While Lahren was widely condemned for her tweet about gun legislation, both by Friedman as well as by multiple members of the public, it seems as though these responses have done little to curb her very public condemnation of gun control legislation. Nonetheless, they have certainly shown that not all Texans are unified in opposition to gun legislation, as Lahren seemingly tried to lead the public to believe.