In the wake of the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas last week, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk came out in support of gun ownership and the Second Amendment as an important check on tyrannical government. However, he also defended “tight” background checks for all gun purchases and limits on ownership of certain weapons.
In an emailed statement to CNBC on Wednesday, Musk said he sees the Second Amendment rights of people to keep and bear arms as an important check on the powers of a potentially tyrannical government.
“I strongly believe that the right to bear arms is an important safeguard against potential tyranny of government,” Musk told CNBC. “Historically, maintaining their power over the people is why those in power did not allow public ownership of guns.
Despite his support of the Second Amendment, Musk added that he supports “tight background checks” for all gun sales. He said he also supports limiting sales of so-called “assault weapons” to people in special circumstances like gun range owners, or people who live in a “high risk location, like gang warfare.”
Musk also said the media shares some blame for the trend in recent mass shooting incidents because they give their perpetrators the kind of attention Musk believes shooters are seeking when they carry out such attacks.
“Regarding recent events, the shooters are obviously doing this to generate the most amount of attention possible,” Musk said. “Why is the media doing exactly what the mass murderers want?”
Musk offered his comments on gun ownership and mass shootings the day after the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The shooting took place over the span of about an hour as the suspect, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, barricaded himself inside a classroom and killed 19 children and two adults and injured 17 other people before he was confronted and killed by officers.
A slow law enforcement response and failures by the school to secure the building may have played significant factors in how the deadly shooting incident played out.
Investigators believe the school resource officer (SRO) assigned to the elementary school was not on campus at the time the attack began and the gunman entered the school through a door that had been propped open by a teacher. The Wall Street Journal reported investigators believe the gunman was outside the school firing shots for 12 minutes before entering the building.
When asked during a Thursday press conference why law enforcement officers didn’t stop the gunman during the 12-minute window of time before he entered the school, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) official Victor Escalon said, “Our job is to report the facts and have answers. We’re not there yet.”
After the gunman entered the building, law enforcement officers gathered outside the school. Crowds of parents gathered outside the school and begged police to go in to confront the shooter. In a video, police officers were seen restraining several people from going into the building themselves.
According to a New York Times timeline of the shooting, a total of 77 minutes elapsed between when the gunman entered the school and when members of a Border Patrol tactical team and other officers entered the barricaded classroom and shot and killed the gunman.