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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 5/25/22

Guests: Jason Crow, Roland Gutierrez, Shannon Watts

Summary

Nineteen children and two adults were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Interview with Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO). The names of 16 of the 19 children who were murdered have now been made public. Most of us focus on gun violence and mass murders only when the latest sickening event captures the news cycle.

Transcript

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ali. And thank you for what I know has been a very difficult hour of reporting for you there on the scene. And for you to have spent so many weeks in Ukraine so recently, and now to be back in the United States covering the tragedy of death by gunfire again here.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: It is hard, Lawrence. Thank you for that. We will see you on your show and I will see you tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Ali. Thank you.

This was totally predictable. That`s what Beto O`Rourke said today when he provided the only unpredictable moment in the unfolding story of mass murder at a Texas elementary school. The mass murder that occurred yesterday was predictable. We just could not tell you the exact location that it was going to occur or the exact day that it was going to occur.

It is now predictable that a virtually identical shooting will occur again in Texas and in other states. What has been said in the aftermath has also been totally predictable. But Beto O`Rourke`s crashing the news conference chaired today by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott was not predictable. Beto O`Rourke went to that news conference in Uvalde, Texas, to listen and then to tell Greg Abbott and other Republican elected officials on the stage, quote, this is on you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O`ROURKE, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you`re doing nothing. You`re all doing nothing. You said this is not predictable, this is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you are out of line! Sir, you are out of line! Sir, you are out of line.

O`ROURKE: I`m standing up for the kids of this state to stop this from happening again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here. Get out of here, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t believe you`re a sick son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue.

(CROSSTALK)

O`ROURKE: This is on you until you choose to do something about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: This is on you until you choose to do something about it. That is what Beto O`Rourke said to the governor and to the other elected Republicans on the stage while Beto O`Rourke was being shouted down by the Republican mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, a sometimes guest on Tucker Carlson`s Fox show.

Beto O`Rourke was in New York yesterday and he was booked to appear on this program in this studio with me last night. But as soon as the news broke about the shooting in Texas, Beto O`Rourke rushed to the airport and flew back to Texas, suspending campaign events. His opponent, Governor Greg Abbott, did not suspend campaign events after he knew that 19 children and two teachers had been murdered in Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Governor Greg Abbott held a fund raising party while the parents of those dead children were heard screaming at the local civic center when they were told that the DNA samples they submitted matched the DNA samples of a murdered child. Those screams from those parents who are coming from inside the civic center and could be heard by reporters outside the building, those screams were not heard by Greg Abbott at his fund-raiser that he was enjoying at the same time -- the same time -- those screams were heard.

Senator Rafael Cruz has two daughters, one in high school and when in elementary school. But he knows that he does not have to worry about what happens when they go to school because they don`t go to a public school in Texas. They go to a high priced and private school, where these things did not happen. And America is the country where you can always -- always -- buy your way out of any problem. And Senator Cruz has bought his way out of worrying about what happens. What happens when his girls go off to school.

Senator Cruz had nothing to say today, playing his part as an extra, standing behind Governor Abbott at the press conference.

[22:05:00]

Yesterday, Senator Cruz explained exactly how to prevent school shootings like this. He said, we know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is arming law enforcement on the campus.

That is the Cruz solution. That is the Texas Republican solution to school shootings, cops on campus, to shoot and kill any mass murderers who show up at a school. Keep that Texas solution, that Texas Republican solution in mind as you listen to Republican Governor Abbott describe what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: The first thing that happened was that the gunman shot his grandmother in the face. She then contacted police. The gunman fled and as he was fleeing, he had an accident just outside of the elementary school. And he ran into the school.

Officers with the Consolidated Independent School District, they approached the gunman and engaged with the gunman at that time. The gunman then entered a back door and went on to short hallways, and then into the classroom on the left-hand side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Do you hear that? Officers approached the gunman and engaged with the gunman and after that the gunman entered the back door of the school. Those officers had guns, engaged with the gunman means, very likely, that they shot at the gunman. It did not work.

According to Senator Cruz, the whole thing is supposed to be over right there, right at that spot, the officers are supposed to have no problems shooting and killing a moving target of the gunman running into a school.

But the Cruz plan, the Republican plan, the Republican solution did not work. Multiple armed officers could not stop the gunman from entering a school and running down a whole way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBOTT: The gunman entered into the classroom and the classroom was connected, internally, to another classroom. Border Patrol consolidated ISD officers, police, sheriffs, and BPS officers converged on that classroom and a border patrol officer killed the gunman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Everything that the governor just described there took approximately an hour.

We have new reporting at this hour that it was actually for -- four border patrol officers -- who shot at the gunman and fired at the gunman. It took four of them firing at the gunman. They do not know which one of them fired the bullet that hit the gunman. But that is how many it took, four, in addition to the two officers who could not stop the gunman from getting into the school.

The gunman was barricaded in the classroom where he did all of his killing. He had about an hour to do it. Because the Cruz plan, the Republican plan did not work. The Republican plan to protect children and teachers in public schools did not work and it does not work.

Senator Cruz said yesterday, "We know that the best tool for keeping kids safe is arming on four spent on the campus." And, in fact, we know from past experience and yesterday`s experience that armed law enforcement on the campus does not work. And it did not work.

There was armed along enforcement on the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. And that did nothing. That law enforcement officer did nothing to stop 17 people from being murdered at that high school.

The American Republican elected officials posing in that press conference, those Texas Republican officials posing there, so that mental health is the problem. That we just have to get mental health under control and then there will be no more school shootings. That is the other Republican solutions.

And that -- that one was completely contradicted on the spot, unwittingly, by Governor Abbott himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There was no known mental health history of the gunman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Governor Abbott also said that there was no meaningful forewarning of this crime. And that was what provoked Beto O`Rourke said to Governor Abbott this was totally predictable. Governor Abbott described a series of post on Facebook by the gunman, beginning 30 minutes before he reached the school.

[22:10:07]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBOTT: The first post was to the point of -- he said, I am going to shoot my grandmother. The second post was, I shot my grandmother. The third post was -- maybe less than 15 minutes before arriving at the school -- was, I am going to shoot an elementary school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The 18-year-old murderer used an AR-15, the favorite murder weapon of America`s mass murderers. It is the single most important tool in making America`s mass murderers the best equipped mass murderers in the world.

And today, when that Republican press conference in Uvalde, Texas, was over Americas mass murderers, who are still guaranteed -- guaranteed by those politicians on the stage and by the Republican Party -- that the Republican Party will do everything that the Republican Party can possibly do to continue to make America`s mass murderers the very best equipped mass murderers in the world.

All of our mass murderers can have all the AR-15s that they want, as far as the Republican Party is concerned. As soon as this mass murderer turned 18 -- on the very day he turned 18 -- he illegally legally ran out and bought himself an AR-15. Because Governor Greg Abbott wanted him to be able to do that. And after he bought that one, he bought another one.

And every elected Republican standing on that stage today wanted that 18- year-old to be able to buy as many AR-15s as he wanted to, the day that he became 18. He entered the school with seven 30 round magazines, which Democrats want to make illegal, high capacity magazines. Democrats want to make those illegal. Two hundred and ten bullets, that`s what the murderer carried into the school, 210 bullets.

And if the supremely brave water patrol officers, who ran toward the sound of his gun, of the murderers gun, did not reach him as soon as they did, that a murderer was capable of killing 210 children in that school because Greg Abbott and Senator Cruz and Senator Cornyn and the rest of the Republican Party in Texas wants everyone to Texas to be able to buy high capacity magazines, including whenever they are contemplating shooting their grandmothers in the face and murdering as many kids as possible in an elementary school. The Republican Party wants them to be able to buy whatever they need to do that.

And as long as they haven`t committed a felony and as long as they do not have documented mental health problems registered with legal authorities, then Texas Republicans want everyone, everyone 18 years or older in Texas, to be able to attach as many 30 round magazines as they want to their brand-new AR-15s.

This is an American way of death supported by an American political party whose values on life and death are not shared by any other political party on the planet. It was not always this way.

The rapper who goes by the pseudonym Machine Gun Kelly carries a passport with the name of Colson Baker. He took his stage name from Machine Gun Kelly, a famous gangster of the 1930s, whose real name was George Kelly Barnes. When the machine gun and a shot off shotgun became the preferred weapon of gangsters like Machine Gun Kelly and John Bellinger, Congress, with bipartisan support, had no problem effectively outlawing machine guns and sawed off shock in the 1924.

It seemed like the right thing to do then. Congress could think of no reason why gangster should be able to get Thompson submachine guns which were developed for the Army as a weapon of war. Republicans supported outlawing machine guns. Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill into law in 1934.

Richard Nixon was the most right wing Republican president of the 20th century when he was elected in 1968. He appointed Warren Burger as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. Warren Burger was a lifelong Republican from Minnesota who supported Republican Dwight Eisenhower`s presidential campaign. Earl Warren served in President Eisenhower`s Justice Department, before President Eisenhower appointed in a federal appeals court judge in Washington, D.C.

[22:15:07]

And it was from that position that Richard Nixon elevated Warren Burger to be the highest Republican appointed judge in the land, chief justice in the United States Supreme Court. And five years after, he retired from the Supreme Court and lifelong Republican Warren Burger said this in 1991.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARREN BURGER, FORMER SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE: If I were writing the Bill of Rights now, there would not be any such thing as the Second Amendment.

HOST: Which says?

BURGER: That a well-regulated militia being necessary for the defense of the state, it gives peoples rights to bear arms. This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud -- and I repeat the word fraud -- on the American public, by special interest groups, that I have ever seen in my lifetime.

Let`s look at those words. There are only three lines of the amendment. A well-regulated militia -- a militia was going to be the state army, if it was going to be well-regulated, why shouldn`t 16 or 17 or 18-year-old or any other age persons be regulated in the use of arms the way automobile is regulated?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Fraud. The Republican Party has fully embraced a fraudulent interpretation of the Second Amendment to mean that the founders of this country intended for every 18 year old in Texas and everyone older than that to be able to buy a 24th century version of a machine gun -- an AR-15 -- and nothing can be done to restrict that right in any way. None of the Founders believed anything like that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABBOTT: Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday. Anyone who shoots his grandmother in the face has to have the evil in his heart. But it is far more evil for someone to gun down little kids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: How evil is it to legally enable an 18-year-old to shoot his grandmother in the face? Is it evil to enable that 18-year-old to shoot and kill 19 children in their classroom, along with both of their teachers?

How evil is it to make sure that America`s mass murderers can buy AR-15 assault weapons whenever they want to attach high capacity magazines to them and carry as many extra high capacity magazines as they can with them so that they may kill as many people as possible in the fastest possible time? How evil is that? Did evil sweep across the Texas legislature when they passed those laws? And made sure that an 18-year-old could do all of that yesterday?

Did evil sweep across Greg Abbott`s hand as he was signing the law that allowed that 18 year old to do what he did in that school yesterday? The official Republican Party position tonight is, as it has been for many years now, America`s mass murderers must be, absolutely must be the best equipped mass murderers in the world and that the rest of us must live with or die with that unchangeable fact.

The Republican Party position is that those kids in Texas had to die because the Constitution says that they have to die. The Republican Party is wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`ROURKE: Do you want to solution? Stop selling AR-15s in the state of Texas. You want to solution? Have universal background checks. We don`t have them. You want a solution? Red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders which stop a shooting before it happens. You want a safe solution? Safe storage laws.

Those are four solutions that have been brought up by the people of Texas. Each one of those has broad bipartisan support right now. We could get that done -- if we had a governor who cared more about the people of Texas than he does his own political career or his fealty to the NRA.

And if you need any proof of that, check the schedule for the NRA`s convention this Friday right here in the state of Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Beto O`Rourke noting that the schedule to speak at the National Rifle Association`s convention in Houston, Texas, this weekend are Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Rafael Cruz.

Joining our discussion now is Charles Blow, columnist for "The New York Times" and MSNBC political analyst.

Charles, I just got a look at your next column, which begins with -- for "The New York Times" which begins with the line, the Republican Party has turned America into a killing field.

[22:20:04]

Please expand on that point.

CHARLES BLOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for decades now, Republicans have engaged in a propaganda campaign. Maybe they wanted to say -- or some other people want to say -- that they were being held hostage by the NRA. But I think they are joined at the hip because it`s good politics for Republicans. They have pushed the proliferation of gun ownership in this country while at the very same time lowering the threshold for that ownership, reducing the laws that would prohibit people from carrying in certain places and in certain ways, and refusing all the while to limit the sale of certain types of guns that are preferred by killers in this country.

And so this is a product of Republican propaganda. They keep telling America that there is a menace coming for you. That menace is coming in a wave of criminals. They were pushing that even when crimes are down.

There is a menace coming in a wave of immigrants. There is a menace coming in the form of a race war or maybe it is race replacements. And possibly, there is a menace coming in the form of the government itself when we can no longer control it.

And if you buy into that dogma, then it becomes very logical that you support that position. It becomes very logical that you want to have your open stockade of arms because it is like being in a floodplain. You want flood insurance because the Republicans have told you that the flood is coming. This is on their heads, on their shoulders.

America has so many guns. We account for 5 percent of the population in 2018. We accounted for 45 percent of all guns owned by private citizens around the world.

The Republican plan worked. But the offshoot of that Republican plan is that this carnage exists alongside people who are responsible gun owners. You cannot detach those two things.

If you pump this many guns into the population, a criminal will get those guns as well as law-abiding citizens. And it doesn`t take many. We keep saying, well, maybe they are mentally ill.

No society on the planet has ever written itself of mental illness. And nor have they rid themselves of heart, nor have they rid themselves of cancer. But other countries with mentally ill people, which is all of them, do not have this problem because they do not have our guns and they do not have our Republican Party.

Charles Blow, thank you very much for joining us tonight, and participating in this conversation. There`s much more to be said on it. We know we`ll have you back to do that. Thank you very much, Charles.

BLOW: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, former Army Ranger, now Congressman Jason Crow will join our discussion, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[22:27:56]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AURALEIGHA SANTOS, ROBB ELEMENTARY STUDENT: I saw my friend Adrienne and she is in one of the class that many kids have died from, and I was telling her that I`m glad that she`s okay because her classroom -- a lot of her friends died.

It was very scary. We didn`t know -- at first, we didn`t know it was happening but then we realized that everyone started panicking. It was just very stressful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado. He`s a member of the House Armed Services Committee and served as a U.S. Army Ranger in combat.

And, Congressman Crow, that was Auraleigha Santos telling Jose Diaz-Balart today what her experience is of this as a survivor. And I know that in combat, your -- it is a completely different age group. You`re 20 years older than these kids, who were experiencing this yesterday.

But from your experience, as someone who survived combat and with death around him, what are these kids going to be experiencing in the months and years to come?

REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Well, it is horrific. It is just hard to think that we are going through this again. We keep on doing this, over and over again. I mean, it`s avoidable. We can change this. We know that we can change this. We know that there are policies that can help prevent young girls like that having to go through things like that.

That girl is roughly the age of my daughter, and of so many other daughters around this country. It just has got to stop. The trauma of gunfire, the trauma of events like that will be with you for the rest of your life. Combat veterans know that and now, too many kids know that.

I represent a community that has more mass shootings than any other community in the nation, the Columbine, the Aurora theater shooting, a STEM school shooting, the Arapahoe High School shooting, all those happened in my community, in my district.

[22:29:47]

And when I go around that district, parents, teachers, students tell me, when there are pep rallies now and a balloon pops, they jump out of their seats. They`re afraid to go to school and they think about this from -- at their events.

This is the America that we built and it`s not ok.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: There is a polling -- a pew poll showing 81 percent support background checks, 63 percent support banning assault style weapons, 64 percent support banning high capacity ammunition magazines.

And Congressman Crow, when you see this killer going into the school with, I believe, seven 30-round magazines and 210 bullet capacities going into a school with those children -- I have never heard a Republican justify why you need a magazine that big. But they just won`t entertain a discussion about it.

CROW: Well, they can`t logically. They can`t rationally. Listen, I have had a relationship with firearms my entire life. I started hunting when I was 12 years old. I am a gun owner now. I`ve owned guns since I was a teenager.

When I first got a gun, sort of the hunting (INAUDIBLE) I went to the local YMCA and I took a hunter safety course. I learned that they are serious, a relationship with the firearm is a serious and somber relationship.

And then I went into the military and I led over a hundred combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. So when these Republicans and others say that the gun doesn`t matter, the type of firearm does not matter, it is just not true.

Let`s use this as al thought experiment for a moment. What do you think these same politicians, these same elected officials would say if we said we`re going to arm our military, our infantry men and women with your hunting rifles? With muskets? What do you think that they would say?

They would say we are out of our minds. That`s what they would say. Because they know that the type of weapon matters. They know that the tool that these (INAUDIBLE) are using matters a lot, ok.

They are used to inflict mass casualties. They don`t belong on our streets. And they know they cannot make that argument so they try not to engage with us on that.

But we know better. We know that when we passed the assault weapons ban, that was in the books for a decade, that the use of those firearms went down 30 percent. The policy matters and the description of these tools that are used to inflict these massacres will matter. And that`s what we`ve got a (INAUDIBLE) for it.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Crow, do you have discussions about this with your children and children you know?

CROW: I do. You know, when I first ran for office in 2017, earlier on the campaign trail, my young daughter, four years old or younger at the time, she came to me after school and said, daddy, I had to have a bad guy drill today. I had to hide in a closet in case a bad guy came for me.

So that`s now our common (INAUDIBLE) in my community and around the country. This was not ok. We have created this societal trauma for our young children.

We did not grow up that way, Lawrence. And so many of the people watching right now, they didn`t grow up that way. But we are now forcing our children to grow up that way now.

And that`s why I will fight with every ounce of my being to change that because this is not the type of world that we need to be raising our children in. There are common sense policies we can pass that will change things.

O`DONNELL: And Representative Crow, before you go, the Republican solution as espoused by Ted Cruz is an armed police officer at every school, that ought to do it. And even though we saw it yesterday, it obviously did not do it. And it took a total of six firing -- eventually a group of four officers showing up, firing at this guy after he had an hour in the school.

CROW: Well, I can tell you that I know my way around firearms. I have had a relationship with them for decades. And I am very good, actually, with firearms. But I would not to want to be a police officer with a pistol against somebody with body armor, an AR-15, and high capacity magazines and all these other things that these mass murderers are using.

That`s not a fight anybody would want to be in. So they`re just wrong. I mean the answer -- you know, the answer to this problem is there are more guns. There`s just no reality in there, there`s no policy, no evidence that supports that at all.

They just want to sell more guns because they`re toady to sort of the gun manufacturers and the gun lobby, that`s -- what they`re going to decide to do. But we know they are wrong.

O`DONNELL: Congressman Jason Crow, thank you for joining our discussion tonight.

CROW: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Coming up, we will be joined by a Texas state senator who was at the civic center last night when parents he represents got the most painful news they could ever hear and let out the screams that came with that news. That is next.

[22:34:56]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The two teachers murdered yesterday were fourth grade teachers Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia.

[22:39:46]

O`DONNELL: The names of 16 of the 19 children who were murdered have now been made public.

Uziyah Garcia, 8 years old; Xavier Lopez, 10 years old; Amerie Jo Garza, 10 years old; Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, ten years old; Jose Flores, Jr., 10 years old; Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10 years old; Eliana Garcia, 10 years old; Rojelio Torres (ph), 10 years old; Olivia Ramirez, 10 years old; Jacqueline Cazares, 10 years old; Jailah Silguero, 10 years old; Jayce Luevanos, 10 years old; Tess Mata, 10 years old. Makenna Lee Elrod, 10 years old; Alexandria Rubio, 10 years old.

Joining us now from Uvalde, Texas is NBC News national correspondent Gabe Gutierrez. Gabe, what are you learning there at this hour tonight?

GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Lawrence. Well, it was just heartbreaking to hear you name those children just now. And it was heartbreaking to see what went on here today behind me. Vigils just wrapped up for the victims here. Members of the community -- hundreds, if not more -- came to pay their respects.

And Lawrence, you just mentioned all those people who died. It was young children, 19 of them, and two teachers. That is really what many people here want to focus on.

They don`t want to focus on the gunman, as we see those pictures. You mentioned those two teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, they have been friends and co-teachers for the past five years. And Garcia was a veteran teacher here. She had been working as a teacher for the last 23 years. Her coworker -- you know, relatives called Mireles a hero, citing law enforcement, who said that she had actually shielded her students from the attackers.

And what`s really struck out to me -- struck me, Lawrence, is one of those young children that you mentioned, Amerie Jo Garza, she was captured here in this photo showing off her honor roll certificate. And that picture was taken just hours before she was killed.

A relative of hers, her grandmother, telling the "Daily Beast" that she called 9-1-1, Lawrence. She called 9-1-1 to try and help her classmates. Just think about that -- ten years old and trying to make that phone call.

Just a short time ago, I was reading one of my colleagues that posting a report on NBCNews.com. I invite your viewers to read it.

Mike Hicksenbaugh (ph) he spoke with a teacher who did not want to give her name. But she described this harrowing scene. The longest 35 minutes of her life she called it and what struck me -- one of the many things about this report is that she said that the students there, they had been practicing these types of drills for years.

One of your previous guest had mentioned, sadly, for many students across this country, this has become all too common. The shock is still sinking in right now for this community here in Uvalde, Lawrence.

Gabe Gutierrez, my friend, thank you for your reporting all day and tonight. I know how painful and difficult it is to be there and to be doing that. And I know how that is for you. Thank you very much. We really appreciate your contribution tonight.

And joining us now is Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, he represents Texas`s 19th district, which includes Uvalde. Senator, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

One Republican that they call a solution for this for problem is to have teachers like Eva Mireles, who has now been shot to death, and Irma Garcia, who has now been shot to death, to have teachers like them armed with handguns presumably in their classroom, ready to fire at an intruder like this, who had already engaged in gunfire with police officers and had gotten past them.

Republicans seem to believe that these teachers just had guns in their classroom they could have stopped him.

ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Lawrence, thank you first off. This has been a very difficult and challenging time. It is a preposterous solution and we have been hearing these types of solutions year after year, session after session, tragedy after tragedy.

[22:44:44]

GUTIERREZ: When we offer common sense gun solutions, like red flag laws like my bill had in 2019, waiting periods, age restrictions -- we don`t get to have those discussions because the Republicans that control congress in Austin don`t want to even have that discussion.

They would rather have more of what we heard today. That this is mental illness -- and that this is evil. We`ll, you know, if it is mental illness -- and it certainly is, right -- solve that.

Have you seen Greg Abbott solve the mental illness funding issue in Texas? He has not. And he has yet to even have a single, solid solution that makes sense on common sense gun control.

O`DONNELL: Senator, you were at the civic center last night. The process there was for parents to submit a DNA sample, saliva or something like that, which would then be brought into a place where it would be matched with or not matched with DNA samples of dead children.

And as the parents got the word, people in the news media were hearing -- hearing their screams outside the building. What did you experience as that was going on last night?

GUTIERREZ: Lawrence, I was inside the building. And it was difficult to -- you know, folks didn`t want to talk to their senator or their representative or anybody ne. They were huddled in prayer, they were quiet, they were calm, you know, following the instructions that were given to them.

And the juxtaposition of they got the news was just sheer devastation. And, you know, as a parent, you feel it and you know it. And I could not live without my children. I took my kids to school yesterday morning. And I went about my day. I could not imagine what it would mean not being able to pick them up or ever see them again.

O`DONNELL: As we go forward, what are you expecting in this community? And what do you think you will be able to try to encourage this community to hope for? I don`t think you can make legislative promises to them in a government that is controlled by Republicans.

GUTIERREZ: It is sad, Lawrence, that we have a protocol to this now, we saw with Sutherland Springs two years ago. We still have bereavement counselors in Sutherland Springs.

This issue is going to be haunting Uvalde for months and years to come. It is my job to make sure that we have the needs that all the state agencies can provide and fulfill those needs here. Make sure that we have adequate health care. Make sure that we have adequate mental health care.

I mean understand this is a rural setting. There is not a psychiatrist in the city. There is not a psychologist. There`s few counselors. And so over the course the of the next weeks and months, we`re going to make sure that those things are happening.

We are talking to the Biden administration, making sure that the federal government is doing their part. And they have been very helpful. We are going to make sure that people get the resources that they need.

Going forward, I will again file gun legislation that is about common sense gun solutions. Like Congressman Crow, I`m a hunter and I own guns. I don`t own an AR-15, never have shot one, never have a desire to shoot one.

We have to take militarized weaponry out of the hands of young men. And that is just -- that`s just final. That has to happen. And for this governor and his Republican colleagues to say anything else is simply preposterous. Enough is enough. How many more of our children need to die?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I am very sorry for the loss that your community has suffered and what you have to bear in the suffering. Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, sir. Appreciate you.

O`DONNELL: And coming up, our next guest, Shannon Watts, never stops working to reduce gun violence in America. She will join us next.

[22:49:08]

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O`DONNELL: Most of us focus on gun violence and mass murders only when the latest sickening event captures the news cycle. Our next guest focuses on this issue every day. Joining us now is Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a group advocating for gun safety.

And Shannon, I just wanted to give you an open mic at what is the end of two days now of coverage and discussion about this, to make the points you would like to make at this point in the discussion given what Republicans have said today and other developments over the course of the two days.

SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER, MOMS DEMAND ACTION: Well, it`s obviously just such a devastating 24 hours. As you read the names of the children and educators I lost my composure again. I am just shocked that we are in this place again. But I should not be because just ten days ago we had a mass shooting of black Americans by a white supremacist in a grocery store in Buffalo. And then a church shooting targeting Asian people inside the church.

[22:54:54]

WATTS: And on and on and on. And it must stop. And I want to be clear that the Senate, they need to do their jobs. And we need to hold them accountable.

But as you said, Lawrence, this work doesn`t end when their clock runs out, right. The clock is running right now for Republicans. They are trying to kick the can down the road and talk about any other issue except what the real issue is and it`s easy access to guns.

We decide when the clock runs out. And it doesn`t run out tomorrow or next week. It goes all the way through November. And we have to hold every lawmaker at the state and federal level accountable when they allow people to be slaughtered by people who have easy access to guns and should not.

This teen should never have had access to a weapon of war. And so I would just ask everyone who is watching to text the word ACT to 644-33 to join us if you are part of the 50 percent of the country who hasn`t been impacted by gun violence yet, thank God. But I am afraid it is coming to your community. We need every voice and every vote.

O`DONNELL: Shannon Watts, I wish we had more time. Thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

WATTS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We will be right back.

[22:56:13]

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O`DONNELL: That is tonight`s LAST WORD.

"THE 11TH HOUR WITH STEPHANIE RUHLE" starts now.