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Texas State Sen. Gutierrez announces 'common sense gun safety' bills

Gutierrez has already announced a series of other bills that he has filed in response to the school shooting in Uvalde last May.

AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez announced what he calls "common sense gun safety legislation" that he has filed in response to the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School last May.

In a news release sent out Tuesday morning, Gutierrez's office said the bills address purchasing age requirements, a bulk ammunition database and the safekeeping of firearms.

Gutierrez – who represents Uvalde – was joined by fellow state senators Sarah Eckhardt and José Menéndez, as well as the families of several Robb Elementary victims and victims of 2018's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe.

Gutierrez started the conference by stating that he is not looking to take guns away. Rather, he wants the State to raise the age requirement of those who can purchase firearms from 18 to 21.

Gov. Greg Abbott has previously called such calls "unconstitutional," citing cases decided across the country that blocked similar efforts in other states. Gutierrez said the governor is incorrect because the Supreme Court decides constitutionality of policies.

"I've become a one-issue guy," Gutierrez said. "This is all I’m going to talk about for the rest of my life as long as people have me back here." 

Gutierrez went on to praise the families who joined him at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday.

"It’s amazing to me that these parents come here. It’s amazing to me that they have the strength to do so," Gutierrez said.

Cardboard cutouts of some of the victims of the Uvalde massacre were displayed. Families affected by the Robb Elementary and Santa Fe High School shootings held framed pictures of those killed in Santa Fe. A laptop played short video clips with audio of the victims.

The next package of gun reform-related bills authored by Gutierrez focuses on guns, ammunition and accessibility.

Senate Bill 911, Bulk Ammunition Database, would require all persons selling ammunition in quantities greater than 200 rounds to register with a database and provide information regarding the date of purchase, type of ammunition and identity of the purchaser. It would also require all purchasers of 200 rounds or more of ammunition to undergo a background check prior to the completion of the sale.

Senate Bill 912, Safe Storage Requirements, would amend language in the Texas Penal Code to expand safe storage requirements for firearms. It would require that all firearms be properly secured, not just those deemed to be accessible to children. It would also increase the penalty for those in violation from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.

Senate Bill 913, Liability Insurance for Firearms, would require every firearm owner to maintain liability insurance for property damage, bodily injury or death that occurs with their firearm. There would be exceptions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and peace officers while on duty. Firearm owners must provide proof of insurance upon request by law enforcement officials.

Senate Bill 914, Ammunition Purchasing Requirements, would require identification for the purchase of ammunition and make it a Class A misdemeanor to knowingly sell ammunition to any person younger than 18 years of age.

Menendez, standing alongside Gutierrez, also shared on Tuesday that he filed legislation that Gutierrez has endorsed. Menendez's bill calls for a 30-day waiting period before anyone under the age of 21 trying to purchase a gun receives one. Noting that many of the worst school shootings in history were committed by people younger than 21, Menendez said the bill aims to buy law enforcement time to stop a potential shooting.

Gutierrez has already announced two other packages of Uvalde-related legislation. So far, the announced bills have focused on increasing local and state accountability, increasing school safety and mental health resources, better training for first responders and a memorial to mass shooting victims in the Texas State Cemetery, among other things.

This week's press conference fell on a significant day in relation to mass shootings in the U.S. Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and one day after a deadly shooting at Michigan State University.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department announced $231 million in funding to help states and Washington, D.C., administer "red-flag laws" and other crisis intervention programs as part of the bipartisan gun legislation passed by Congress over the summer.

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