Ted Cruz said Democrat ‘elites’ who believe in gun control wanted to ‘disarm Americans’ (Pictures: Rex)

Republican senator Ted Cruz has defenced US gun laws after the Texas school shooting which killed 21 people.

Some 19 children, between the ages of seven and 10, and two adults were murdered on Tuesday when 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos used an AR-15 rifle to open fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

The tragedy has ignited a debate about gun control in a country where the topic has become a political fault-line.

Mr Cruz, who has long supported gun ownership rights, attended the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s annual meeting in Houston on Friday.

He told the crowd how Democrat ‘elites’ were trying to ‘disarm Americans’ in their bid to ban AR-15s, the weapon used in most school shootings.

He said: ‘Guns are used defensively to stop a crime between 500,000 and 1 million times every single year.

‘That means if the left disarms America, those crimes would no longer be stopped.’

The most recent school shooting has sparked a debate about gun control laws in the US (Picture: Rex)

He argued that leaving ‘only criminals with guns’ would lead to ‘many more single mums on subways’ getting assaulted, as they would no longer be able to commute with their 33-inch semi-automatic rifles in their handbags.

This is when he said ‘far more children’ would die if the weapons were banned.

Like dozens of high-profile gun ownership advocates in US politics, Mr Cruz receives large sums of donations from the NRA.

In 2019, the lobby group paid the one-time presidential hopeful $176,274, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

This is the second major shooting in the US this month, after an attack in Buffalo, New York, killed 10 people on May 14.

.@tedcruz: “It’s far easier to slander one’s political adversaries and to demand that responsible citizens forfeit their constitutional rights than it is to examine the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil.”@NRA

MORE: https://t.co/sJEtpX5BX9 pic.twitter.com/p70y14f8xH

— Newsmax (@newsmax) May 27, 2022

In both incidents, the attackers legally bought AR-15-type rifles when they were just 18, an age deemed acceptable for gun purchases but not to drink alcohol or drive.

The Uvalde shooting was the second deadliest attack in US history, surpassed only by the 2021 Sandy Hook massacre, which also saw an AR-15 used.

The weapon was also used in a 2018 school shooting in Florida, a 2019 El Paso slaughter, an Ohio shooting which happened the next day and a music festival shooting in 2017.

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