For the primary time for the reason that Texas Legislature started trying into the Uvalde college bloodbath, debate veered Thursday into the topic of entry to firearms and what limits, if any, ought to be pursued to greatest defend younger college students and most people.
A Capitol listening to received off to a somber begin when Jazmin Cazares, whose 9-year-old sister Jackie was killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, pleaded for lawmakers to honor her sister’s reminiscence by passing gun-safety laws.
“I am right here begging for you guys to do one thing, or to vary one thing, as a result of the individuals who have been supposed to maintain her protected failed,” Cazares stated, including later: “I am terrified for my life to return. I’ve senior 12 months and that is it. Am I going to outlive it?”
Cazares, who stated she began her day sitting on her sister’s mattress and crying, urged lawmakers to enhance the system of background checks earlier than gun purchases and create a “purple flag” system that enable weapons to be briefly faraway from these discovered to be harmful to themselves and others.
She additionally urged improved active-shooter coaching requirements for officers and assurances that primary security options, starting with door locks that work, are used.
Instantly after, the joint listening to earlier than two Home committees heard from Suzanna Hupp, a former Republican member of the Texas Home who was along with her mother and father once they and 21 others have been shot to dying within the 1991 assault on a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen.
Police response: 74 minutes, 8 seconds: Contained in the Uvalde taking pictures
Hupp stated imposing limits on gun rights would worsen, not enhance, security.
“Let’s be clear that the gun: It is only a device. It is a device that can be utilized to kill a household, however it’s a device that can be utilized to guard a household,” Hupp stated. “I am no gun lover. I could not care much less about that hunk of steel proper there, besides that I need that likelihood, that merchandise that adjustments the percentages in what’s now a increasingly frequent situation.”
Hupp opposed common background checks earlier than each gun buy, calling it “de facto gun registration. Registration at all times results in confiscation, in my view.”
She additionally opposed limits to high-capacity magazines — saying it might present just a few seconds of distinction as a result of smaller magazines may be shortly changed — and elevating the age for all firearm purchases to 21.
Thursday’s joint listening to heard solely from invited witnesses and mixed two Home committees charged with responding to the Uvalde taking pictures — the Homeland Safety and Public Security Committee and the Choose Committee on Youth Well being and Security — and was separate from a particular investigative committee that has been questioning witnesses in personal.
Democrats name for particular session
Earlier than the listening to started, 58 Home Democrats despatched a letter urging Gov. Greg Abbott to name a right away particular session to handle 4 points earlier than college students return in August:
• Enact a legislation permitting excessive threat protecting orders, also called a purple flag legislation, and shut loopholes within the state’s protecting order legal guidelines.
• Require background checks earlier than all firearm purchases, together with stranger-to-stranger gross sales.
• Require stolen weapons to be reported to legislation enforcement.
• Elevate the authorized age to buy semi-automatic “assault weapons” from 18 to 21.
“Texans need common sense gun security laws, they usually need it now,” state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, stated throughout a Thursday morning information convention. “This occasion in Uvalde … has individuals a lot, that little youngsters might be murdered by an 18-year-old who was capable of legally buy an assault weapon, I believe you are seeing shifting attitudes.”
As well as, earlier this week 13 might from the state’s most populous cities — together with Steve Adler of Austin — referred to as for a particular session to enact laws that they stated would have prevented mass shootings at Uvalde and an El Paso Walmart in 2019. These strategies included common background checks, no gun purchases by these below age 21, purple flag legal guidelines, higher coaching and sources for college police, and more cash for psychological well being help.
Abbott and different Republican leaders have pushed again on requires a particular session, saying a radical understanding of what occurred in Uvalde was wanted earlier than a legislative response may be designed and debated.
Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokeswoman, stated Democrats ought to work with different lawmakers “fairly than holding press conferences to advertise themselves.”
“The investigations being performed by the Texas Rangers and the FBI are ongoing, and we sit up for the complete outcomes being shared with the victims’ households and the general public, who deserve the complete reality of what occurred that tragic day,” Eze stated, including that Home and Senate committees are responding to Abbott’s request to review and make suggestions on college security, psychological well being, firearm security, police coaching and social media.
Solely the governor can name a particular session and decide what points lawmakers can act upon through the 30-day periods.
Police chiefs, sheriffs testify
Throughout Thursday’s listening to, legislators additionally heard from a half-dozen police chiefs from throughout Texas who defined active-shooter protocols and prompt a sequence of reforms, together with the requirement that legislation officers get 16 hours of superior coaching each two years in responding to energetic shooters. .
Command employees also needs to get energetic assault administration coaching, San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge informed the committee.
He additionally requested for extra state cash to offer officers with medical tools and embed psychological well being clinicians with officers within the discipline.
Leaders of the Sheriffs’ Affiliation of Texas and the Texas Police Chiefs Affiliation additionally urged lawmakers to keep away from enacting a legislation to find out which company would supply the incident commander in a mass taking pictures or different multiple-agency response, notably in response to the delay in confronting the Uvalde gunman.
Such a legislation would by no means be capable to decide which company or officer has the most effective means or expertise to steer in these chaotic conditions, Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne stated.
In line with the Texas Division of Public Security, Uvalde college district Police Chief Pete Arredondo was the incident commander on the Uvalde taking pictures who was liable for the delay, and several other lawmakers had prompt that the DPS ought to have taken over command of the scenario.
This text initially appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Gun entry debated as sufferer’s sister begs Texas lawmakers for motion