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On deadline day, Texas House Committee moves bill to raise the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle

After heartfelt testimony from the families of Uvalde, a last-minute committee meeting was called to advance the bill.

SAN ANTONIO — Lawmakers said the Uvalde families needed some hope that a bill to raise the age to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21 could pass. A glimmer of hope was given on Monday.

"I can't imagine how it feels to have so much power, and yet here we are on the last day still hoping you'll do the right thing," Laura Garza, aunt of Amerie Jo Garza spoke passionately during a press conference towards lawmakers on the Texas House Community Safety Committee.

Families of other victims including Uziyah Garcia, Jackie Cazares, and Lexi Rubio were in attendance at the State Capitol. They have continued to ask lawmakers to support HB 2744. The Robb Elementary shooter bought the weapons used in the massacre days after he turned 18, according to an investigative report. 

“I haven't begged and pleaded for a time machine so I can go back to May 24th and just bring my baby home after those awards. The one small, very simple ask that we've had is to just raise the age limit,” Nikki Cross, the mother of Robb Elementary student Uziyah Garcia said.

Less than two hours after tearful testimony from the families, the House Community Safety Committee called a special meeting.

Committee members voted 8-5 to move the bill out of committee. Two Republicans, Rep. Sam Harless and Rep. Justin Holland supported the measure.

Lawmakers say the bill advances to the House Calendar Committee, who decides when the legislation could go to the House floor. Families of the victims celebrated with applause and hugs. 

Facebook video from Rep. Vikki Goodwin shows the vote and the reaction that took place.

Voting to raise the age to buy a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 in the Community Safety committee. After months of pleading, we are finally taking a vote. It is truly the minimum of what we can do regarding legislation for the families of Uvalde. #Txlege

Posted by Rep. Vikki Goodwin on Monday, May 8, 2023

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