AUSTIN (CBSNewsTexas.com) – A bill to raise the age for purchasing an AR-style rifle to 21 will not be discussed in plenary.
The Calendars Committee, which schedules bills for a vote, did not put them on the legislative calendar for House members to consider.
Gun reform activists were emboldened on Monday after the House Community Safety Select committee passed House Bill 2744 on the latest day the legislation could be approved by a committee.
Republican State Representative Jeff Leach represents Allen and discussed the deadly mass shooting with CBS News Texas on Tuesday. “There’s a lot of things we don’t know, but the one thing we do know, as a state representative for Allen, this has affected my community, my constituents. One thing I know is that too much is happening and it doesn’t have to be this way. It hasn’t always been like this.
Leach said if there is anything that can be done to prevent another mass shooting, the House should consider it. “I know you will see us hold those debates publicly, openly, transparently, in front of the people of Texas. This is what they expect, deserve and demand, and we will do it on their behalf.”
We spoke with Leach before the Calendar Committee decided not to send the bill to a full House vote.
When asked if he’s spoken to Chairman Dade Phelan or Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, calendar committee chair, Leach said, “They’re not on the proper committees to decide what gets discussed or not.”
Leach said he believes people on both sides of the gun debate can work together. “I will pass any bill that protects our constitutional rights, our second amendment rights to protect ourselves and our families. I’m not going to give up on this. I don’t think I have to give up this even to keep guns out of the hands of people who don’t need to, want to break our laws, want to harm and inflict violence, that’s where I stand on this issue.”
Democratic state representative John Bryant of Dallas, who tried to force a vote on House Bill 2744 on Monday, expressed doubts Tuesday about the bill’s chances of passing. “I’m not at all hopeful. I think it’s unlikely. It would have no chance of passing the House unless we take extraordinary measures.”
This would include suspending the rules.
If that were to happen and the bill makes it to the floor for a vote, it still faces an uphill climb.
The magic number to pass a bill is 76 votes.
Bryant said, “I’m not sure we’re going to have 76. We’re going to need 12 Republicans to do that. I think it’s possible, I think there are a lot of Republicans who would support us, but because of their fear of the Republican primary.”
Over the past year, polls in Texas have shown that a majority of residents, including Republicans, support raising the legal age to purchase an AR-style rifle to 21 and red flag laws.
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