In an unexpected move hours before a crucial legislative deadline and days after the shooting at the Allen Mall, a Texas House committee advanced a bill on Monday that would increase the minimum age to buy some semi-automatic rifles.
The plan has a long way to go before it becomes state law, but the decision was an essential step for the idea that the loved ones of the Uvalde shooting victims have been promoting for months.
When the committee voted 8-5 to advance the bill to the House floor, several parents of kids who were slain in the Robb Elementary School shooting last year grieved.
Democratic House Community Safety Select Committee members and Republican state representatives Sam Harless and Justin Holland submitted the bill.
Less than two hours ago, some of the Uvalde victims’ kin had pleaded with the committee’s chair, Rep. Ryan Guillen, R-Rio Grande, to allow a vote on House Bill 2744 before a crucial deadline on Monday.
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“One year ago today, my daughter had her communion. About a month later, she was buried in that same dress,” During a tearful press appearance, Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jacklyn was slain in the Uvalde incident, remarked. “Mr. Guillen, and anybody else who is stopping this bill from passing, sad to say but more blood will be on your hands.”
Monday is the last day for lower chamber votes to pass House measures out of committee. House bills that don’t make it by that date are less likely to become law. However, they could be resurrected in some ways if they are still in committee.
A tweet from Jarvis Johnson’s account:
— Jarvis Johnson (@jarvisjohnsontx) May 8, 2023
House Bill 2744, introduced by Democratic Rep. Tracy King, whose district includes Uvalde, was discussed in front of the House select committee last month during a hearing where family members of the victims from Uvalde gave heartbreaking testimonies of how gun violence tore their lives apart.
The legislative deadline of Monday comes two days after an AR-15-style rifle-wielding gunman in Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb of around 100,000 people, shot and ki!!ed eight shoppers at an outdoor mall. That same gunman also ki!!ed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde.
Raising the age restriction for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle probably wouldn’t have prevented the gunman in Allen, who was 33, from doing so.
But in a state where lawmakers have loosened handgun regulations despite frequent mass shootings, calls for strengthening some gun rules have increased in response to the shooting on Saturday.
After the massacre in Allen on Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott once more emphasized the GOP’s opposition to gun control legislation.
Although he doesn’t think HB 2744 supports passing the chamber, House Speaker Dade Phelan stated earlier this year that he wouldn’t prevent it from being debated. The Senate has not yet had a hearing on a related bill. Additionally, Abbott claimed that the law would not be legal.
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