Gov. Greg Abbott says Texas needs to do a better job of addressing its mental health care challenges after a deadly mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.
Speaking at a press conference after the shooting, Abbott said the state has enacted new legislation in the wake of last year’s shooting at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston. The governor held a series of roundtables at the Capitol in 2018 aimed at strengthening student safety.
“During that time we did not, as far as I know, evaluate for and plan for an incident like this,” Abbott said. “That said, I can tell you that perhaps the most profound and agreed upon issue that came out of all of those hearings was the need for the state and for society to do a better job of dealing with challenging mental health based issues.”
The governor said mental health “is a large contributor to any type of violence or shooting violence.”
But researchers and advocates are pushing back against the idea that mass shootings are tied to mental illness. Rosie Phillips Davis, president of the American Psychological Association, said in a statement that blaming gun violence on mental illness is unfounded and can reinforce stigma about these conditions.