Uvalde victims' families show support for gun control bills

Several families who lost children during the Uvalde school shooting last year shared emotional testimony before lawmakers deciding on gun control bills in a Texas House committee. None of those bills are likely to become law.

The gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde used an AR-15-style rifle for the attack. 

He legally purchased the weapon a few days after his 18th birthday.

Crosses set up to honor those who lost their lives during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas on November 8, 2022. (Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images)

House Bill 2744 would ban the sale of some high-powered, semi-automatic firearms like AR-15-style guns to anyone younger than 21.

The legislation includes exceptions to allow sales to peace officers and military veterans.

The parents of those killed in the Uvalde massacre testified in support of the bill before the House Committee on Community Safety. That testimony began Tuesday evening and continued well after midnight.

Some family members noted that the officers who responded to the shooting were afraid to confront the gunman because of the type of firearm he was using.

Javier Carzares talked about the daughter he lost.

"She was taken, murdered at 9 years old along with 18 classmates and two teachers by an 18-year-old gunman. We’re here to support HB 2744 raising the legal age limit to purchase an assault rifle," Cazares said.

In this combination of pictures created on May 30, 2022 shows photos of 19 children and 2 teachers who died in the mass shooting are displayed at a makeshift memorial at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, May 30, 2022. (top L-R) Eva Mireles, 44

"Your thoughts and prayers didn’t stop an 18-year-old from purchasing two high-powered semi-automatic rifles and all those rounds of ammunition," said Brett Cross, whose son was killed. "Your thoughts and prayers are useless. You have thought and prayers for legislation that you can help enact that could change this."

There were a few people who spoke against the bill.

"I do believe it’s a mental problem. It seems to be getting worse in this country. But I don’t see how this bill will stop it," said Michelle, who opposes HB 2744. "When someone has ill in their heart and wants to harm or murder, it doesn’t matter if they can get it legally or illegally. They will find a way."


Texas House committee considers state ban on celebratory gunfire, prohibit guns in group homes

Those gun control measures debated so far include a state ban on celebratory gunfire as well as a bill proposed in response to an autistic man being shot in a Dallas group home.

But the vast majority of people giving public comment were there to support the legislation.

"I don’t come to you as a Democrat or Republican. I just come to you as a mom, as a parent. Enough is enough. Please do something. Do something now. Don’t wait until another community has to go through this," said Nikki Cross, who son was killed in the shooting.

This is the first session of the Texas Legislature since the mass shooting.

But with Republicans in control of both the Texas House and Senate, any kind of gun control bill faces long odds of actually passing out of the two chambers.