Family members of the victims of the 2022 Uvalde mass shooting testified at a House committee hearing in front of Texas lawmakers Tuesday night (April 18). Families were there to support House Bill 2744, which proposed legislation that would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic guns in Texas from 18 to 21.
On May 24, 2022, 19 children and two teachers were killed by a lone gunman at Robb Elementary. It marked the worst school shooting in Texas history.
“Had this bill been the law in the state of Texas one year ago, the gunman would not have been able to purchase the semi-automatic weapon he used to murder our daughter,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed. “Our hearts may be broken but our resolve has never been stronger.”
HB 2744, which was introduced by Rep. Tracy King (D-TX), would make it against the law to sell, rent, lease, loan or give certain semi-automatic weapons to someone younger than 21 years of age. The Uvalde gunman purchased an AR-15-style rifle when he was 18.
“In this case, ladies and gentlemen, had House Bill 2744 been the law in the state of Texas, that attacker would not have been able to buy that weapon,” King said during the meeting. “My constituents would be alive today.”
Angel Garza, the stepfather Amerie Jo Garza, who was killed during the shooting, said that while there are many disagreements about gun laws, he believes that everyone can agree that the country is facing a crisis.
“We need to start somewhere to solve this issue,” Garza said. “We do everything to protect these guns. Let’s just try something to protect our children.”
Brett Cross, the father of Uziyah Garcia, also spoke and said, “Your thoughts and prayers are useless.”