Texas State Bill on Gun Control Passes Committee Vote, Bringing Victory for Uvalde Families' Advocacy
Over 160 activists, including more than a dozen Uvalde shooting victims’ relatives, gathered at the Texas state Capitol on Monday to urge lawmakers to take action on gun reform. The protesters chanted “raise the age” and “do your job” as lawmakers headed to their offices. The purpose of the protest was to demand that House Bill 2744, which would raise the age to buy assault rifle-style weapons from 18 to 21, be voted on before the legislature’s last day in session.
Protesters some holding photos of victims
Fifteen of the activists were Uvalde families who lost children in the May 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 21 students and teachers. Berlinda Arreola, step-grandmother of 10-year-old Uvalde victim Amerie Jo Garza, said that lawmakers do not care about the lives lost in mass shootings, nor do they care about their constituents. “Our children are not safe. Our families are not safe. We are not safe. Prove me wrong,” Arreola said.
Kimberly Rubio, a journalist and mother of six whose 10-year-old daughter, Lexi, was killed in Uvalde, said that the weekend’s mass shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas was too much to comprehend. She became emotional during the protest, saying, “I’m just a mom who wants my daughter back who doesn’t want another mom to know my pain.”
The bill passed the Community Safety Committee in the afternoon, and it will now be discussed and debated before being voted on in the House. If the bill passes the House, it will then have to pass the Texas Senate by the end of May.
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who has been an advocate for the Uvalde families, tweeted that “Our voices are making a difference. The push to bring this bill to the House floor continues.” Jerry Mata, whose 10-year-old daughter Tess was killed in Uvalde, said he was thrilled once the bill passed the committee. Tess’ mom, Veronica Mata, said, “I think this was a sign from our babies, that, you know, we’re doing the right thing. We’re helping protect other children.”