Texas bill to raise age for semi-auto rifles passes committee

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Texas has long had a reputation for being very pro-gun. While often overstated just a bit, recent legislation helped it live up to that reputation.

Now, it seems a bill seeks to undo precisely that good work.


That’s right, the bill to raise the age to buy so-called assault weapons to 21 cleared an important hurdle.

In a previously unscheduled vote, Texas lawmakers on Monday advanced a measure that would raise the age limit for purchasing assault-style weapons.

House Bill 2744 has been pushed by families of victims in last year’s Robb Elementary School shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead. They say a higher minimum age would have prevented the mass shooting.

If passed, the legislation would raise the minimum age required to purchase semi-automatic rifles — like the one used in Uvalde — from 18 to 21. Most Texans are currently not allowed to carry handguns before that age.

Berlinda Arreola, the step grandmother of 10-year-old Uvalde victim Amerie Jo Garza, has been going to the Texas Capitol almost every week to advocate for the measure.

After the vote by the House Select Committee on Community Safety, she told reporters she’s thankful lawmakers took this step.

“Actually winning the vote — it was just overwhelming. It was a huge, huge success for us,” Arreola said, adding “I know that we are not done. We know that we have more fighting to do.”

The measure has to be voted on by the full Texas House by this Thursday in order to have a real chance of becoming law.

Now, let’s be real here. While Uvalde parents are pushing this, the fact that the bill was voted on Monday when it hadn’t been scheduled for any such thing is clearly a reaction to the shooting in Allen, TX.


This, of course, is stupid because the killer in Allen was 33 years old and this law wouldn’t have impacted him in the least.

Then again, it’s unlikely that this measure would have done much to prevent Uvalde, either. The killer would have likely found another way to secure the firearms he eventually used to commit his atrocity.

What people don’t get is that for the violent–and the Uvalde killer was most definitely someone who was going to be violent sooner or later based on what we know–laws aren’t barriers that cannot be cleared. They are, at best, obstacles to work around.

They’ll get the guns no matter what.

Yet what this measure will do, should it be passed, is make it harder for an untold number of Texans from the ages of 18 to 20 to be able to have the means to defend themselves. They’re already barred from having handguns and now they want to restrict them from having so-called assault weapons.

If there’s good news, it may rest in the possibility that while this bill made it out of committee, there’s no promise that it’ll even get a vote by the legislature as a whole, much less win such a vote. This is still Texas, after all, and while people are reeling right now, calmer heads will eventually prevail.

Or so one would hope.

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