‘What the hell do you need an AR-15 for?’ Spurs coach Popovich, Castro brothers speak at ‘Stand with Uvalde’ benefit rally

Hundreds gathered at Travis Park on Saturday in support of victims, families of Uvalde shooting

SAN ANTONIO – Hundreds of people gathered in Travis Park on Saturday to stand with the town of Uvalde during a call-to-action event in support of the victims and families affected by the mass shooting at Robb Elementary.

The event was done to raise funds for families of the shooting victims and call on leaders to “deliver common sense reform to keep kids safe, and make clear that voters will hold politicians accountable for their inaction at the ballot box.”

The rally featured several notable speakers, including Congressman Joaquin Castro, his brother and former Mayor Julian Castro, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and Voto Latino President María Teresa Kumar.

“Can we all agree that we should have background checks? We can all agree that an 18-year-old should not be walking around carrying guns. Those are the reforms we are talking about today, and for San Antonio to come together and to host it just on the outskirts of Uvalde, really speaks as to why the community here in Texas is ready for change,” Kumar said. “The time for action is now.”

Popovich, another guest speaker, said enough is enough and urged everyone to register to vote to enact change.

“Texas is actually the place where five of the worst massacres in U.S. history have taken place,” Popovich said.

Popovich commended gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, who confronted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference.

“The first reaction of the people up on the dais there was ‘you’re out of line’,” Popovich said. “Who’s out of line? You’re out of line because you haven’t done crap and 19 more people were murdered. It’s just incredible, they think we’re stupid.”

The NBA’s most winningest coach also questioned why anyone should be able to buy an AR-15 assault rifle.

“Why can anybody buy an AR-15? I shouldn’t be able to buy one, you shouldn’t be able to buy one, what the hell do you need an AR-15 for?” Popovich said.

The event comes 11 days after the horrific shooting at Robb elementary, where 19 students and two teachers were killed inside a classroom by a teen armed with an AR-15 rifle.

Ramon Contreras, a political activist and co-founder of “Youth over Guns” has been advocating for common sense gun control after losing his best friend to gun violence. He said the conversations that must be had are more than important.

“(They’re) extremely important, one, because we saw one of the most horrifying tragedies happen in America which should have ended a long time ago, which is an elementary school being shot at, which is a majority Latino community -- but the truth is there are Black, Latinos shot at every day,” Contreras said.

Julian Castro, who also spoke at the rally, said the people of Uvalde and the country are demanding change to the situations only Americans are faced with.

“Other countries do not have the easy access to weapons of war that the United States has and should get rid of in the weeks to come, this is a uniquely an American problem,” he said.

See the full video:

Call-to-action event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Travis Park


About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.