Uvalde families and lawmakers call for swift action to place stalled gun bill on the House floor

Jesse Rizo, Jackie Cazares’ uncle, said he clings to faith and will never stop fighting, despite the odds of the legislation passing.

AUSTIN, Texas — More than a dozen Texas House lawmakers and families of Uvalde shooting victims are pushing for the “Raise the Age” gun bill to pass a full House vote.

House Bill 2744 proposes raising the purchase age of some semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21. The bill was met with immense criticism from Republicans, including Governor Greg Abbott, who deemed the concept of limited access to guns unconstitutional.

The legislation was passed by a House safety committee on Monday with the support of two Republicans who voted in favor of the bill. Relatives of the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary welcomed the bill’s progress after a year of lobbying for similar measures.

Rep. Dustin Burrows and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan received a letter signed by 28 House politicians, requesting that HB 2744 be placed on the General State Calendar.

“Based on the Calendar Committee members, some of whom voted against the legislation yesterday, the chances of it making it to the House are uncertain at best,” said UTSA political science professor Jon Taylor.

Burrows, who voted down HB 2744, serves as chairman of the calendar committee.

“I don’t mean to downplay or downplay it, but right now just based on who’s in the majority and who’s in power, the chance of this bill becoming law is still extraordinarily low,” Taylor said.

The Uvalde families continued with their advocacy efforts in Austin Tuesday afternoon, calling on supporters to call Burrows and other calendar committee members to pass the bill for a House vote.

“We knew, especially the parents, that it was a gamble. We know there are many obstacles, many differences of opinion,” said Jesse Rizo, uncle of Jackie Cazares, one of the children killed at Robb Elementary a year ago.

Despite the odds of the “Raise the Age” bill becoming law, the families have shown no signs of slowing down the fight.

“One step at a time and just have faith to honor the loved one who hasn’t come home,” Rizo said.

The 88th Texas Legislative Session adjourns on May 29.

As of Tuesday evening, the calendar committee has yet to schedule HB 2744 for a plenary vote.

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