Elon Musk backs ‘hard’ background checks on all arms sales – Reuters News in France and abroad

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has called for “strict” scrutiny of all gun purchases, backing gun ownership as a “protection” against political tyranny – a day after a sniper killed at least 19 children and two adults at a Southern Elementary School. Texas. .

In an email to CNBC, Musk accused the media of giving the killers the attention they need by covering the mass shootings.

“Regarding recent developments, it is clear that the shooters are doing this to attract as much attention as possible. Why is the media doing exactly what the mass murderers want?” Musk asked.

Musk’s companies have a strong presence in Texas. Electric vehicle maker Tesla moved its headquarters to Austin from California last year due to less stringent business regulations in the state of Lone Star and about $64 million in state and local incentives.

Tesla officially opened a major new car and battery manufacturing plant near Austin in April.

Musk also leads SpaceX, which launches reusable rockets from Boca Chica in south Texas.

The CEO has become more politically active in recent months, announcing earlier in May that he plans to vote Republican.

In emails to CNBC on Wednesday, he said he supports “stringent background checks” on all gun sales and limiting the sale of assault weapons to people in special circumstances, such as gun range owners or people living in “high-risk places like gangs.” . “. war.”

At least 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Wvalde, Texas on Tuesday, one of many mass shootings in the United States this year.

“I firmly believe that the right to bear arms is an important safeguard against potential state tyranny. Historically, maintaining one’s power over people is the reason those in power don’t allow gun ownership in public,” 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. It is in the process of being acquired by Twitter in a deal that was originally worth over $40 billion. He said he would allow former President Donald Trump to return to the platform if the deal goes through.

Twitter permanently blocked the former president in January 2021 following a siege by his supporters on the US Capitol. At the time, the social network said it had made the decision “because of the risk of further incitement to violence.”

Trump has been an active user of the platform and has amassed over 80 million followers. Musk has even more Twitter followers than Trump at the time, including legions of shareholders and fans of his companies.

In Republican-dominated Texas, SpaceX is seeking FAA clearance to expand its Boca Chica facility and launch its super-heavy Starships there. Environmentalists and other local groups have abandoned some of the company’s plans.

According to a Business Insider report, Musk was recently accused of sexually harassing a SpaceX flight attendant. Musk denied the allegations.

Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is still due to attend the annual meeting of the pro-gun National Rifle Association on Friday, considers Musk one of his allies. Trump is also expected to attend the NRA meeting. Abbott said in an interview with CNBC last year that he spoke to Musk “often”.

“Elon had to leave California because in California social policy, Elon constantly tells me that he likes the social policy of the state of Texas,” Abbott said at the time, after the introduction of a de facto abortion ban in the state.

Musk did not respond when asked if he would call Abbott to urge him to strengthen Texas state background check laws. Democratic lawmakers in Congress called on their counterparts to take comprehensive action on gun reform in the wake of the Texas shooting.

In December, a Tesla worker shot dead a colleague in the parking lot of a Tesla factory in Fremont, California.

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