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Elon Musk endorses tight background checks on gun buyers: report

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. (Image credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said he believes that the right to bear arms is necessary to "safeguard" individuals against tyranny, but he also called for stricter background checks on gun purchases.

Musk made the comments in an email to CNBC (opens in new tab) a day after at least 19 children and two adults died in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday (May 24).

"I strongly believe that the right to bear arms is an important safeguard against potential tyranny of government," Musk said in the email. "Historically, maintaining their power over the people is why those in power did not allow public ownership of guns."

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Musk, who is in talks to buy Twitter, also blamed the media for the attention being given to recent mass shootings in the United States.

"Regarding recent events, the shooters are obviously doing this to generate the most amount of attention possible. Why is the media doing exactly what the mass murderers want?" Musk asked in the email.

Musk also told CNBC that he supports "tight background checks" for all firearm purchases and that only people in certain situations — owners of gun ranges, for example, or people who live in neighborhoods where gang warfare occurs — should be allowed to buy assault weapons.

The CNBC report noted that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who is scheduled to attend a National Association Rifle meeting on Friday (May 27), has said that he speaks with Musk "frequently." 

Musk and his companies are important to the Texas economy; the electric-car company Tesla recently moved its headquarters from California to Austin, and SpaceX is building and testing its next-generation Starship vehicle in South Texas.

Musk, however, "did not respond when asked if he would call Abbott to push him to strengthen background check laws at the Texas state level," CNBC said, adding that it has been Democrats in Congress that have asked for more "comprehensive gun-reform measures since the Texas shooting."

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she tackles topics like spaceflight, diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc (opens in new tab). in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Her latest book, NASA Leadership Moments, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.