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Texas governor Greg Abbott calls off gun raffle plan

Re-election campaign changes prize to gift card in wake of deadly Santa Fe school shooting

Image Credit: AP
Santa Fe, Texas, resident, Lori Simmons prays for healing in front of 10 wooden crosses at Santa Fe High School on Monday, May 21, 2018, in Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, Texas: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has called off his re-election campaign’s plans to raffle off a shotgun, in the aftermath of the school shooting that killed 10 people last week.

The decision was made over the weekend and confirmed Monday by the Republican’s office. The raffle prize was changed to a $250 gift certificate.

The move came after 17-year-old high school student Dimitrios Pagourtzis was charged for gunning down fellow students and teachers at his rural school Friday in the conservative state.

“It’s important to note this contest has been going on since well before Friday. Obviously, we changed it because of the events on Friday,” Abbott spokesman John Wittman told the New York Daily News.

Gun ownership is a point of pride in Texas and legal restrictions on firearms are considered politically untenable.

With an image of Abbott looking down the barrel of a shotgun, the governor’s campaign website had been raffling off a “Texas-made shotgun.”

“As governor, Greg Abbott expanded 2nd Amendment rights, signing into law ‘campus carry’ and ‘open carry,’” his website touts, referring to controversial policies that allow for the public carrying of firearms, including on state college campuses.

Texas organizers with “March For Our Lives” — the pro-gun control movement sparked after 17 were killed at a Parkland, Florida high school — criticized Abbott’s raffle over the weekend.

“We find this a disgusting display of disregard of the toll gun violence takes,” the group said on Twitter, adding Monday that it was gratified by the change.

Abbott, who has focused on mental health issues and arming school personnel, announced a series of townhall meetings to discuss school safety. They will be held at the state capitol building starting Tuesday.

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