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After the 24-hour victory, relatives of the Uvalde school victims continue to fight to change the law.

Days after a bloody mass shooting in suburban Dallas, families of another horrific mass shooting in Texas gathered at the Texas State Capitol to demand reform of the state’s notorious gun laws.

Almost a year has passed since a young man shot and killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in the town of Uvalde. Police arrived at Roby Elementary within minutes of the shooting, but it took more than an hour for police to enter and confront and kill the shooter. In the wake of the massacre, victims’ families continue to pressure Texas lawmakers to take action to ensure stricter gun control.

On May 6, another massacre took place in a shopping center in the city of Allen, Texas. It didn’t take long for the Uvalde families to meet on Capitol Hill to get lawmakers to approve at least one measure they consider a priority: raising the minimum age for Texans to purchase semiautomatic firearms from 18 to 21. . They lined the road as lawmakers marched toward the House of Representatives, holding banners and chanting “Raise the Age,” a reference in part to the Uvalde shooter, who turned 18 just days earlier. to kill

“If this bill had been law in the state of Texas a year ago, that young man would not have been able to [comprar] semi-automatic weapon that he used to kill our daughter,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed at the Uvalde school. “Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve has never been stronger,” she added during the hearing. Hearing from Texas representatives House Committee.

The truth is that the determination of orphan families didn’t translate into significant legislative gains last year, stymied by a Republican majority in the Assembly and a crony governor who opposed even the most minor of gun control measures.

“Disappointing is not a strong enough word to describe the legislature’s inaction,” said Nicole Golden, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, which advocates for gun control laws in the state. “.

In Washington, US President Joe Biden signed a federal bill a month after the Uvalde shooting that changes Congressional gun control measures. More than 300 gun bills have been introduced in Texas this spring, but only a few will pass. Those that pass are unlikely to significantly reduce access to guns in this state, and some may even make them more affordable.

The federal government’s response to Uvalde’s shooting — which marks one year this week — was swift. President Biden has been quick to push Congress to pass comprehensive control measures, such as banning assault weapons. While most Republicans have opposed stricter gun control, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, has led negotiations toward minor changes.

Specifically, a legal loophole known as the “buddy loophole,” a regulation that prohibits firearms possession by those convicted of domestic violence, is addressed. Previously, the ban only applied to spouses or partners who live together or have children together. The new law expands this definition to include engaged couples.

The approval was a major milestone for gun control advocates. Congress hasn’t passed a similar gun control measure in nearly 30 years. “At a time when things can’t get done in Washington, we’re doing something important,” Biden said as he signed the legislation.

Since then, there have been more than 650 mass shootings in the US, according to the nonpartisan Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are killed or injured.

After a series of mass killings, Biden again called for a ban on assault weapons and other tough gun control measures. The US president called the lack of response from Republicans “outrageous and unacceptable”. In large part, this passive attitude is due to Texas lawmakers. At the state level, there have been few solutions to mass shootings, other than a tangential promise of improved psychological support and other deterrent measures.

The Texas state legislature only meets for five months every two years, so lobbying groups that support gun control and others that support greater access to guns gathered at the Austin Capitol on fire this spring.

Many events are suspended at the Texas Capitol. These include community violence intervention laws, background check requirements and raising the minimum age for firearm ownership, as well as red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders. be a threat

The executive director of Texas Gun Sense notes that lawmakers have agreed to allocate $500,000 over the next two years to the Keep ‘Em Safe Texas campaign, which educates gun owners about the safe and proper storage of firearms to prevent suicide. , murders and mass shootings like one five years ago at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas.

When it comes to major measures, even the latest mass shooting in this US state isn’t enough to sway Republicans. The shooter killed eight people, including three children, before killing a police officer.

However, the shooting pushed a bill forward in Austin: House Bill 2744, which would raise the age to purchase a semi-automatic handgun from 18 to 21, stalled in a House committee. Just two days after the events in Allen, the deadline for his approval or disapproval was set. Few expected that he would go to the plenary session.

After Uvalde families packed the state Capitol and chanted “raise the age” as lawmakers walked to the floor, the Community Safety Committee quickly convened and approved the measure by eight votes to five, with two Republicans. in favor of A room full of Uvalde families erupted in applause. Some were crying.

“We see a lot of tragedies with kids being shot in schools. It’s a modest change that we can make to give a lot of people peace of mind and protect children,” Republican Sam Harless, who joined the Democrats, told the Dallas Morning News. Time to pay the bill. “I did not run for this position to choose an easy vote,” he added.

Golden emphasizes that the vote is an important milestone for Texas gun policy: “It’s unprecedented in the entire Capitol. People were stunned.” “I don’t want to miss a step,” he says. However, this victory for gun control advocates was short-lived.

Another critical deadline was missed the next day and a floor vote was not scheduled. Democrats say they will continue to pursue the measure, but it is unlikely to pass. “We went from euphoria to disappointment very quickly,” Golden admits. You have to take steps forward, celebrate them and appreciate their importance.

Source: El Diario





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