Houston police chief urges Texans to vote for gun control after shooting

Jeremy B White
Houston police chief Art Acevedo: Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Houston’s chief of police is urging voters to reject politicians who do not take on gun control after a school shooting claimed ten lives in the Texas town of Santa Fe.

“People at the state level and the federal level in too many places in our country are not doing anything other than offering prayers”, Houston police chief Art Acevedo said during an appearance on “Face the Nation”.

“We need to start using the ballot box and ballot initiatives to take the matters out of the hands of people that are doing nothing that are elected into the hands of the people to see that the will of the people in this country is actually carried out”, he added.

On Friday, a young man identified by authorities as 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire at Santa Fe High School, wielding what authorities said were firearms legally obtained by his parents. He has been charged with capital murder, and while he has not entered a plea a probable cause affidavit alleges he confessed having been the shooter.

As a familiar cycle of bloodshed and grief has ground on, Mr Acevedo has emerged as a vocal advocate for tightening gun laws. In a Facebook post shared and liked tens of thousands of times, he rejected the argument that “guns aren’t the problem and there’s little we can do”.

“I will continue to speak up and will stand up for what my heart and my God commands me to do, and I assure you he hasn’t instructed me to believe that gun-rights are bestowed by him”, Mr Acevedo wrote.

His enthusiasm is unlikely to resonate much in the corridors of power in Texas. The state has a deeply ingrained culture of gun rights that pervades its Republican-controlled government.

Governor Greg Abbott responded to the shooting by vowing to take unspecified action to prevent future massacres. Lieutenant governor Dan Patrick suggested that the problem was schools had too many exits and entrances to be properly guarded.