Texas

Uvalde families push for urgency after California shooting

Austin, Texas (AP) – Families from Uvalde on Tuesday pleaded for new urgency to tighten gun laws following a series of mass shootings in California, including the deadliest act of gun violence in the nation since last year’s attack on an elementary school in Texas.

“People die every day, this shouldn’t happen,” said Veronica Mata, whose 10-year-old daughter Tess was among those killed in the May attack on Robb’s elementary school.

Three shootings in California that have killed at least 24 people since last week come as the Texas Legislature returns to work for the first time since the Uvalde massacre. Democrats have put forward dozens of proposals that have tightened gun laws in Texas, but most of them stand little chance of moving forward in the face of the GOP’s overwhelming majority.

However, several parents and relatives of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Uvalda drove more than three hours on Tuesday to resume their calls to the Texas Capitol. Some families said Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who made no mention of the Uvalde shooting when he was sworn in for a third term during his inaugural address last week, privately told them he did not support tougher restrictions.

None of the Republican lawmakers joined the Democrats, who stood with the victims’ families and gun control supporters at a press conference outside the Senate floor. Several Republican senators passed by as they left the room.

The proposals requested by Uwalde’s parents include raising the age limit for buying semi-automatic rifles like the one used during the May attack from 18 to 21, the state’s age limit for buying a handgun. The other will open up opportunities for families to sue officers who are not doing their jobs. An investigation report by state lawmakers last summer showed that about 400 officers waited in the hallway and on the street for more than an hour to enter the classroom where the shooter fired.

According to her sister Marisol Lozano, Uvalde’s teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed, was shot 11 times from head to toe with an AR-15 rifle. She recalled how, before the funeral, her sister’s face and hands were reconstructed to hide the bullet wounds. Garcia’s husband, Joe Garcia, died of a heart attack shortly after the shooting.

“I wonder if there were 21 abortions in these classes, would our elected officials step in and do the right thing?” Lozano said referring to restrictions state lawmakers have imposed over the years, including one of the strictest abortion bans in the US.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, said earlier this month that he was aware of the upcoming “difficult discussions” on gun law. But he later told reporters he did not believe the bills would find support in the Republican-controlled state house.

Javier Cazares, father of 9-year-old Uvalde victim Jacqueline Cazares, said Phelan has privately told families that he and his constituents do not support tougher gun laws that support families.

“Our blood boiled, what can you do?” This was reported by the Associated Press Casares, speaking in Spanish.

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Learn more about the Uvalde, Texas school shooting: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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