Uvalde School Shooting

‘Raise-the-Age' Gun Bill Faces Deadline to Advance to House

The last day to vote HB 2744 out of the Texas House is Thursday

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Time is ticking for a bill raising the minimum age to purchase certain semi-automatic rifles in Texas to be heard on the House floor for a debate and vote.

HB 2744 would prohibit selling, renting, leasing, or giving a semi-automatic rifle with a caliber greater than .22 that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine to a person younger than 21 years old.

The Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety voted 8-5 to advance HB 2744 to the full chamber on Monday, with Republican state Reps. Sam Harless, of Spring, and Justin Holland, of Rockwall, joining with the Democrats in favor of moving the bill along.

However, it must also meet a 10 p.m. Tuesday deadline under the House Calendars Committee, which could determine when or if the bill advances to the full chamber. The Calendars Committee is chaired by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) who voted against its advancement as a member of the select committee.

On Tuesday, families of Robb Elementary School shooting victims visited calendars committee members’ offices to put more pressure on advancing the bill. Manuel Rizo, the uncle, and godfather of Jackie Cazares, was part of the crowd.

Cazares is one of the 21 people, including 19 children, who were shot and killed at the Uvalde school on May 24, 2022.

“A ‘no’ is a no, but we have 21 lives that are making this possible,” Rizo said. “Jackie and her friends, they’re helping us. They’re going help us to convince you to do the right thing.”

A spokesperson person for Burrows said as calendars chair, he does not comment on bills coming to or being considered by the committee.

Most of the offices visited by the families Tuesday were greeted by office aide workers and other staff members.

"He hasn’t seen the images of his own children. Of how our children were left behind, has he?" Rizo questioned one of Burrows' staffers. "The answer is no. He’s seen the images out of Uvalde. He’s been chairman of the Robb investigative committee. He’s seen those images because he hasn’t seen his children in the images of our children and how they were left behind, okay?"

A decision from the calendars committee has not been made as of this writing.

Wes Virdell, Texas State Director for the Gun Owners of America organization, released the following statement on Tuesday:

"The vote to raise the age of semi-automatic firearms to 21 by two Republicans is extremely disappointing.

Representatives Justin Holland and Sam Harless have campaigned as supporters of the 2nd Amendment, as Republican in party affiliation, and have sworn oaths to the Constitution.

At Gun Owners of America, we are extremely disappointed in their votes against the 2nd Amendment. 18-20-year-olds deserve the same rights to self-defense as anyone 21 and up.

The idea that people who are willing to commit murder will follow a law regulating the age limit to buy a firearm is ludicrous and out of touch with reality. As we saw on Sunday, someone intent on murdering people will use any method available to them including automobiles. We have yet to see any anti-2A advocates lobby for raising the age to drive a car or make purchasing an automobile harder. Both objects are amoral and can be used for good or bad. We have had firearms in this society for centuries without these problems. The root of the problem will not be solved by taking away American's right to self-defense."

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