BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is no stranger to advocating for social justice issues, and on Wednesday after practice, spoke out against the recent gun violence when asked about the shooting in his home state of Texas that left 19 children and two adults dead.
Garrett was asked about the shooting during his post-practice press conference Wednesday, and the topic seemed to truly strike home for the Dallas native.
"I'm still sick. I hate to see it happen in my state. I hate to see anything negative happen, doesn’t matter if it’s in Dallas or anywhere, it’s still my home," Garrett said. "Just kind of disappointed as far as the response from the police and how they handled it afterwards."
Police in Uvalde, Texas have been under scrutiny for their response to the school shooting, as Texas DPS Col. Steven McCraw said on Friday during a press conference that Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police Pete Arredondo's decision to delay officers' actions while waiting for more resources was the "wrong decision."
Meanwhile, Garrett also sounded off on Texas government officials' lack of action and decision to continue supporting the National Rifle Association in the wake of the tragedy.
"The response by Abbott and government officials down there as far as still attending the NRA meeting that they had in Houston, still kind of pressing and advocating for what is really the problem right now," Garrett said.
Garrett shared some of his beliefs in terms of what gun control could or should look like, noting that he believes an age restriction is among one of the actions that should be considered, if not an all-out ban on assault rifles.
"As far as guns, I don't see the necessity for an 18-year-old to have an AR or have access to an AR and they seem to be the main weapon of choice for school shootings and mass shootings and somehow we still continue to find that they get their hands on them so easily and I just think there needs to be more regulations," Garrett said.
"I don't think there needs to be ARs in general, the general public. If you want to defend your home, you should have a pistol. I think if you want to go hunting, I think you should have to use a rifle and I think you should have to turn it in when hunting season's over—if you want to go somewhere else you can use it then. I just don't see the reason for that to protect your home. I think that's a little bit overkill."
While the Uvalde shooting happened in his home state, Garrett made it clear that this is not just a Texas issue and hopes to see change across the U.S., pushing for action to end the mass shootings that have affected state after state.
"We've seen it time and time again. We say 'Remember Sandy Hook,' we say 'Remember Uvalde, Texas' and we'll still remain stubborn in our ways and not do anything about it. And that's the real frustrating thing about it and that's what I talk to my family about. How can we make change happen? How can we progress forward?" Garrett said.
With the platform that he boasts, Garrett hopes to use his voice to spark change, like he's aimed for in the past as well, like in the wake of the George Floyd protests in 2020.
"I'm going to try to be. I know my home state is probably the biggest advocate for those kinds of guns at home. But it happens here as well. So I’m going to be an advocate for this cause nationwide and I'm going to do the best I can to try to get something progressive and something changed," Garrett said.
"I feel like it’s my obligation as someone who gets the spotlight a little bit more than others, show them what is going on. Whether they agree or disagree it’s on them, but putting it in front of them and making them see it, see the truth, I feel like that’s my job, it’s my opportunity to do so."
Camryn Justice is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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