TEXAS, USA — Will there be a special session to address raising the age of buying an assault rifle? Will there be consequences for the people who provided misleading information on the Uvalde school shooting?
These are just a few questions that Texas Gov, Greg Abbott addressed Wednesday live on KHOU 11 News during an interview with Len Cannon.
And there are still many questions that Texans have on the issues that led to the Uvalde school shooting.
Full interview transcribed below:
Len Cannon: May 27, three days after the massacre, you said you were misinformed and misled about the actions of officers. Governor, who misled you?
Gov. Abbott: So, the people who provided the information that I wrote down on those notes, that I made public, that anybody can see, were the people around the table, including law enforcement at every level, whether it be federal, state or local. They provided the information that I wrote down that I then left that room and went out to the public and recited that information. As we all know now, that turned out to be erroneous, part of it did at least anyway, and then more importantly as more information has surfaced, such as the videotape, we've learned even more. The goal of all of us is to ensure that the public is going to get to know every detailed fact about exactly what happened here and because of the videotape, the audio tape, as well as the multiple investigations that are still taking place as we speak right now, we will have a minute-by-minute checklist of exactly what happened. The most important thing is that the people of Uvalde and the families get to know what happened.
Len Cannon: So you just talked about that there were a lot of people in the room who gave you the wrong information, I wonder will there be consequences for the people that gave you that information that day?
Gov. Abbott: So listen, there is going to be consequences up and down the board whether it be people in that room that day or others who were involved in the reaction to this tragic shooting. Obviously, based upon the videotape, we know there should be consequences for the action of some law enforcement that day, but there's going to be others, ranging from what happened during the entirety of that day as well as the response and the aftermath of it. So yes, there will be both accountability and consequences.
Len Cannon: Uvalde school board and city council calling on a special session, calling for you to call a special session to raise the minimum age for buying an assault rifle. Will you call such a special session?
Gov. Abbott: So what I've done already is I issued a charge to the Texas House and Texas Senate to begin investigating any and all matters concerning what happened in Uvalde as well as what we as a state need to do to respond to that tragedy, and investigations have been conducted by both chambers on all those topics, one in which that led to that 77-page investigative report that was issued by the House of Representatives, others have which led to additional funding provided by the legislature of more than $100 million for the state to help the local community better deal with both school security as well as things like mental and behavioral health situations, and they are still working as we speak to hammer out an agreement on items that would help address the challenges that arose during the Uvalde shooting.
Len Cannon: So governor, you are talking about calling for in investigations, I think everyone would agree that's a good idea, but will you in fact call a special session specifically about raising the limit on who can buy an assault weapon?
Gov. Abbott: Listen, there is no agreement on anything like that whatsoever. What there is an agreement on that everybody agrees upon and that is we need to get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem that was abundantly clear with regard to the shooter in Uvalde was a very serious mental health issue. It was clear to members of the community long before the shooting took place, in fact, the nickname of the shooter was "school shooter." We need to get back to two situations — one, when you see something, say something, but a bigger issue is we need as a state and as a country to understand that our people with mental health challenges, whose challenges need to be addressed, and we need to begin to address those challenges. I want to point this out very importantly, because in the aftermath of what happened in the Sante Fe shooting, since then we have appropriated about 16 to 15 billion dollars to address mental health in the state of Texas, including behavioral health issues in schools and created a program that reached about 300 independent school districts around the state. Unfortunately, it did not reach the Uvalde ISD at the time of the shooting.
Len Cannon: Governor, when will you order DPS to release their bodycam footage from the day at Robb Elementary?
Gov. Abbott: Listen, I want every law enforcement agency, including DPS, to release bodycams, whether it be video or audio because the public needs to know exactly what happened. The public benefitted so much by getting to see this videotape of the 77 minutes of exactly what happened there on the campus that day and I want to see the release of all information. So that the public will really know exactly what happened.
Len Cannon: And when?
Gov. Abbott: As soon as possible
Len Cannon: As it relates to abortion, the abortion law goes into effect in Texas in 29 days. The one exception is if the mother's life is in danger. There's some confusion governor among doctors among the guidelines for determining when a woman's life is in danger. what are you doing to clear up the confusion so lives are not put at risk?
Gov. Abbott: Well, listen, very importantly, you talk about something, an essential component of this law, and that is protecting the life of the mother. And what you ask me was basically a medical question. And it's going to be up to doctors to determine when the life of the mother is in danger. But there is the expectation that this law is going to protect the life of the mother as well as the life of the baby.
Len Cannon: Will you penalize women who leave Texas to go to a state to get an abortion where abortion is legal?
Gov. Abbott: Let me tell you two things about that. First, the abortion laws in the state of Texas don't punish the mother. They punish those who provide the abortion. Second, on the leaving the state, you may recall that issue was addressed by an opinion issued by Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, taking that issue off the table,