Oklahoma Democrats Urge Reform Following School Shooting, Republicans Decry Politicizing Tragedy


Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 5:28 pm


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The country is mourning the 21 lives lost in a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school. 

The 18-year-old suspect gunned down 19 children and two teachers before police shot and killed him. 

The shooting left many Oklahoma lawmakers asking what can be done to prevent such a tragedy happening here. 

Democrats at the state capitol argue gun laws need to be strengthened while Republicans point to mental health. It's a conversation that has been had before. 

“We’ve seen this before and unfortunately nothing has changed,” House Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, said. 

“There’s evil out this world, and it’s going to be there whether the guns are there or not,” Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, said. 

Five hundred miles north of Uvalde, Texas, Oklahoma lawmakers, like many across the country, watched in horror. The scenes of yet another school shooting. 

“Yesterday, I think more than the other times that this has happened, my heartbreak and devastation turned to anger,” Rep. Virgin said. 

While legislative Democrats argue the time is now to discuss gun reform, background checks and red flag laws, many Republicans have shied away from the conversation since the shooting.

Some Republicans said now is not the time for politics. 

“I think mental illness. We’ve got to work on mental illness,” Murdock, the only Republican lawmaker who spoke with News 9 Wednesday, said.

“This year, we’ve put more money into mental health in the state with the budget this year,” Murdock said. “I think something like this just pushes it even further, and I think next year, we’re pretty much done at the capital for this year. But I think next year we’ll still be adding more and more to mental health.” 

Several lawmakers said Wednesday that there's no reason this type of mass shooting couldn't happen in Oklahoma. Something they hope never happens.