Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called for ‘tight’ background checks on all gun purchases while backing gun ownership as a ‘safeguard’ against political tyranny – a day after a sniper killed at least 19 children and two adults at a South Texas elementary school.
In an email to CNBC, Musk blamed the media for giving murderers the attention they need by covering the mass shootings.
“As far as recent events go, shooters are obviously doing this to get as much attention as possible. Why is the media doing exactly what the mass murderers want?” Musk asked.
Musk’s businesses have a large footprint in Texas. Electric vehicle maker Tesla moved its headquarters to Austin from California last year due to less stringent Lone Star State business regulations and state and local incentives worth about $64 million.
Tesla officially opened a massive new vehicle and battery factory near Austin in April.
Musk also leads SpaceX, which launches reusable rockets from Boca Chica in southern Texas.
The CEO has become more politically vocal in recent months, announcing earlier in May that he planned to vote Republican.
He said in emails to CNBC on Wednesday that he supports “rigorous background checks” for all gun sales and limiting assault weapon sales to people in special circumstances, such as owners of shooting ranges or people living in a “high risk place, like a gang”. war.”
At least 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, one of many mass shootings in the United States so far this year.
“I firmly believe that the right to bear arms is an important safeguard against potential government tyranny. Historically, maintaining their power over the people is why those in power have not allowed public possession of weapons,” Musk said in an email to CNBC.
Forbes ranks Musk as the richest person in the world with a net worth of over $200 billion. He is in the process of acquiring Twitter for a deal that was originally worth more than $40 billion. He said he would let former President Donald Trump return to the platform if the deal went through.
Twitter permanently banned the former president in January 2021 following a siege by his supporters from the US Capitol. At the time, the social media company said it made the decision “due to the risk of further incitement to violence”.
Trump was an avid user of the platform and had amassed over 80 million followers. Musk has even more Twitter followers than Trump did at the time, including legions of shareholders and fans of his companies.
In Republican-dominated Texas, SpaceX is seeking FAA permission to expand its Boca Chica facility and conduct launches of its Starship Super Heavy vehicles there. Environmentalists and other local groups have pushed back on some of the company’s plans.
Musk was recently accused of sexually harassing a SpaceX flight attendant, according to a report by Business Insider. Musk has denied the allegations.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is still scheduled to attend the annual meeting of the pro-gun National Rifle Association on Friday, counts Musk among his allies. Trump is also expected to attend the NRA meeting. Abbott said in a CNBC interview last year that he spoke “frequently” with Musk.
“Elon had to leave California because in California social policies, Elon constantly tells me that he likes the social policies of the state of Texas,” Abbott said at the time, after introducing a virtual ban on abortions in the state.
Musk did not respond when asked if he would call Abbott to urge him to strengthen Texas state-level background check laws. Democratic congressional lawmakers have been calling on their colleagues to pass comprehensive gun reform measures since the Texas shooting.
In December, a Tesla worker shot and killed a co-worker in the parking lot of the Tesla factory in Fremont, California.