Democratic leaders and gun control advocates shut down the immediate and familiar outpouring of “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the South Texas church shooting on Sunday, calling for stronger gun laws.
“How many kids must die of gun violence on playgrounds & streets every day with no attention at all before we wake up to what’s happening?” Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter. “Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP. We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait.”
At least 26 people were killed inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman opened fire on Sunday. This has become the deadliest year for mass shootings in modern U.S. history.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an advocacy group founded in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, called on lawmakers to take action.
“If thoughts and prayers alone prevented gun violence, we wouldn’t be shot in places of worship. God calls on us to ACT,” she said on Twitter.
Several people reacted to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for prayers. “Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now,” Ryan said on Sunday.
“Let’s also pray that you find the courage to do your job,” Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Seth Moulton responded.
Here’s how others reacted:
More Must-Reads From TIME
- Meet the 2024 Women of the Year
- Greta Gerwig's Next Big Swing
- East Palestine, One Year After Train Derailment
- In the Belly of MrBeast
- The Closers: 18 People Working to End the Racial Wealth Gap
- How Long Should You Isolate With COVID-19?
- The Best Romantic Comedies to Watch on Netflix
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time
Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com