In a weekly district-wide email, Granbury ISD Superintendent Jim Largent often shared his personal views on legislation, politics, community news, and on at least two occasions gun rights.
When President Trump nominated Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Largent sent a “legislative update” to staff across the district criticizing her position on the 2nd Amendment.
DeVos “displayed a lack of knowledge about the fundamentals of public education,” Largent wrote. As a “notable moment” during DeVos’s confirmation hearing, Largent complained that she “refused to acknowledge that schools are no place for guns.”
At the hearing, DeVos said that the issue was “best left to locales and states to decide.” Texas has adopted several measures in recent years to permit expanded gun rights on school and college campuses.
That wasn’t Largent’s only time to delve into an issue related to guns. In a bizarre commentary sent throughout the district in October, Largent speculated on the motives of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, suggesting that “talk radio” could be to blame for the massacre:
I will say that it seems we have more and more groups and factions who make it their purpose in life to hate and tear down anyone who isn’t just like them. People who look different, act different, worship different, have different values, customs, opinions, etc. These people have all become targets of these hate groups and many of these groups hide behind perfectly normal-sounding names. Non-stop hate is what we see in the news, opinion shows, talk radio, and social media. It has almost become the norm on social media and unfortunately even with some of our political leaders.
I don’t know what causes a seemingly normal man to spend days hoarding automatic weapons in a hotel room, then indiscriminately spray bullets into a crowd of young people who are only there to enjoy a concert. Some things just don’t make sense. Maybe we will learn more as the days and weeks go on. But, maybe he had seen so much hate-speech on TV, radio and social media that he bought in to some ideology and that set him off to do what he did. I guess we may never know.
Since the shooting, there has been no evidence that Paddock was motivated by talk radio or opinion shows.
Largent is running against conservative State Rep. Mike Lang (R–Granbury) in the Republican Primary. Lang has the endorsement of Gun Owners of America, NRA, TSRA, and the National Association for Gun Rights and has made the passage of constitutional carry one of his top priorities for 2019.
Despite running against Lang as a Republican, Largent has refused to comply with party rules and answer a questionnaire on whether he supports or opposes the planks of the Republican Party, including several key planks relating to gun rights. His refusal has drawn condemnation from the Hood County Republican Party.