Texas moves towards stricter gun laws with surprise advance of assault weapons bill
In a surprising turn of events, Texas lawmakers pushed for a gun control bill on Monday, answering calls for action from families of mass killing victims.
This decision followed shortly after the shooting at Allen Mall on Saturday. The incident left eight individuals killed. The Texas State House committee voted in favor of the gun control bill.
It aims to raise the legal age for buying assault weapons to 21. The bill also proposes restricting firearm sales to individuals with protective orders and if they’re intoxicated.
Moreover, two Republicans joined the Democrats in an 8-5 vote. The families tirelessly advocating for the assault weapons bill rejoiced and applauded.
BREAKING: In a SHOCKING move, two Texas Republicans just joined the Democrats to PASS the “Raise The Age” gun control bill out of committee in the Texas Legislature!
That's right – TEXAS!
Don't ever let anyone tell you we can't win. Because we WILL.
The NRA is freaking… pic.twitter.com/VPVDteCNZD
— Jon Cooper (@joncoopertweets) May 8, 2023
Monday is the last day for the bill to advance to a floor vote before the legislative meeting concludes on May 29. Before the vote, families from Sutherland Springs and Uvalde, where a tragic church shootings occurred in 2017, urged lawmakers to bring the legislation to the floor.
A still grievingmother from Uvalde, Nikki Cross, has been at all Legislature sessions almost every Tuesday and Thursday since they began in January.
She acknowledged state Representative Ryan Guile, the committee chair on community safety. Cross pleaded to increase the age limit for buying assault weapons from 18-21.
You may also like: To curb gun violence, try focusing on the violence
Despite the advancements, Democrats may still not gain enough support to pass the bill. Even if they’re successful, the bill must still go through the Republican-dominated state Senate.
In addition, it would still need approval from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who opposes the assault weapon legislation. Abbott argued on Fox News Sunday that acknowledging mental health problems is the solution to violence and anger issues.
Uvalde representative Sen. Roland Gutierrez led the press conference on Monday. He had proposed several bills in the Senate but never received a vote for any of them.
— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) May 9, 2023
Sadly, it remains uncertain whether the proposals would have affected the Allen gunman, who was 30 years old.
In light of the recent mass shooting, Texas currently has a loophole that allows prosecutors and law enforcement to keep public records of investigations that don’t end up in conviction.
This “dead suspect loophole” permits withholding details when a suspect is dead. This is still true even if the suspect committed suicide or a law enforcer killed him.
Recalling the Uvalde Elementary School shootout, the suspect killed two teachers and 19 children and was able to purchase a gun at age 18. State Sen. Gutierrez was disappointed that the complete details of the Uvalde mass shooting still remain undisclosed. Information only comes from news leaks.
Furthermore, a police source told CBS News that the suspect used an assault weapon in the Allen Mall Shooting. The White House also confirmed that the gun was an AR-15.
Once approved, the possible implications of the bill for stricter gun laws in Texas are far-reaching. It could have a significant impact on the state and its residents.
One positive impact could be decreased crime rates and gun violence, as stricter assault weapons laws could make it difficult to possess assault weapons illegally.
In addition, it could also impact gun rights advocates and gun owners in Texas, possibly triggering a pushback. The bill’s passage could also inspire the same legislation in other states, resulting in a broader shift in gun control laws across the US.