AUSTIN, Texas — Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott could have woken up Saturday to the sound of fogeys screaming the names of their kids who died within the May 24 faculty taking pictures in Uvalde.
Family members of a couple of dozen of the scholars and academics who died within the assault gathered in entrance of the governor’s mansion in downtown Austin at round 5:15 a.m., blaring recordings of their kids laughing and enjoying, then pausing to shout their names. Several dad and mom held poster-sized portraits of their family members and yelled at Abbott to step exterior.
“If we can’t sleep, neither can you!” one guardian shouted.
“These are the voices of our children!” Brett Cross, whose son Uziyah died within the taking pictures, yelled right into a bullhorn. “This is all we have left because you don’t give a damn!”
The protest is an element of a bigger push from dad and mom and the gun reform group March for Our Lives to get Abbott to name a particular session of the state Legislature to boost the minimal age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21.
Later that morning, a whole lot of gun reform advocates ― together with survivors and kin of scholars from different mass shootings ― gathered on the steps of the state Capitol, repeatedly chanting “Raise the age!” and “Vote him out!”
“Our kids are going back to school and asking, ‘Will I be next?’” Javier Cazares, whose daughter Jackie died within the Uvalde taking pictures, instructed the group.
Rhonda Hart, whose daughter Kimberly died in a 2018 taking pictures at Santa Fe High School, contrasted Texans’ easy accessibility to high-powered rifles with the strict guidelines she needed to observe within the Army.
“I had three weeks of training before I was allowed to handle [an] M16,” she mentioned, in reference to the army firearm.
Several audio system tearfully instructed tales about relations who died within the May 24 taking pictures.
“My sister leaves behind her only child, who has to go on without her,” mentioned Maggie Mireles Thomas, referring to trainer Eva Mireles. “Eva was strong. She could have taken [the shooter] ― but not with this weapon.”
Gun reform advocates typically need to see extra aggressive restrictions on assault rifles.
Raising the minimal age for buy can be a smaller and extra politically possible step.
It’s a authorized change that may have made a serious distinction in Uvalde. In that case, the shooter legally purchased the assault rifle that was used within the assault shortly after his 18th birthday.
“The age needs to be raised to 21,” Cross instructed HuffPost. “Our kids would still be alive.”
Allowing folks so younger to purchase firearms that may shortly kill massive numbers of individuals will increase the possibilities of such shootings occurring once more, mentioned Ana Rodriguez, who misplaced her 10-year-old daughter Maite.
“I know firsthand the type of damage that they can do,” Rodriguez mentioned. “Is it absolutely necessary for an 18-year-old kid to own … a weapon of a war? An 18-year-old is just a kid.”
Abbott, an enthusiastic promoter of firearms, has thus far proven little curiosity within the proposal. Asked whether or not the governor helps elevating the minimal age of buy, a spokesperson declined to reply, pointing as an alternative to Abbott’s efforts to advertise faculty security and psychological well being.
“As Governor Abbott has said from day one, all options remain on the table as he continues working with state and local leaders to prevent future tragedies and deploy all available resources to support the Uvalde community as they heal,” Press Secretary Renae Eze wrote in an e mail. “More announcements are expected in the coming days and weeks as the legislature deliberates proposed solutions.”
Several dad and mom, nevertheless, mentioned their personal discussions with Abbott went poorly earlier this month, with the governor flatly dismissing their questions on elevating the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles.
According to 1 guardian, Abbott mentioned elevating the minimal age wouldn’t make a distinction, citing the usage of a shotgun by the Santa Fe High School shooter. Several mentioned he instantly steered the dialog towards the topic of psychological well being.
That disinterest left a nasty impression with a number of dad and mom. One regretted assembly with him, saying her daughter by no means appreciated him.
“We asked him if he could name a victim, and he said no,” Cross instructed HuffPost. “He couldn’t name one. He said, ‘Not off the top of my head.’”
The Texas Legislature meets for a number of months each different yr. The state solely considers new legal guidelines in response to occasions just like the Uvalde taking pictures if the governor calls a particular session.
Even if Abbott had been to name one, the proposal to boost the minimal age to purchase semi-automatic rifles would face an unsure path. Both homes of the Legislature are managed by Republicans. In latest years, the social gathering has moved to loosen gun laws, with a 2015 regulation permitting the concealed carry of handguns on college campuses and a 2021 regulation permitting folks to hold the weapons with out a license.
But the Uvalde dad and mom draw hope from gun reform advocates’ success in Florida. In 2018, then-Gov. Rick Scott, additionally a Republican presiding over a GOP-dominated Legislature, signed a reform measure elevating the authorized age to purchase firearms to 21 in response to the college taking pictures in Parkland.
Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi died within the Uvalde taking pictures, mentioned she hopes Abbott will do the identical.
“My main goal is just to be heard,” Rubio mentioned. “And if he doesn’t deliver, we’re going to vote him out.”
CORRECTION: A earlier model of this story referred to the kid of Brett Cross as “Uri.” His identify is Uziyah, or “Uzi.”