Texas panel advances bill raising minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles after Allen shooting
By Lauren Sforza,
A Texas House panel advanced a bill Monday that would raise the minimum age limit to purchase semiautomatic rifles, days after a mass shooting at a Texas mall left eight victims dead.
The Texas House Community Safety Select Committee approved the bill 8-5 on Monday, with two Republicans joining Democrats in voting for the bill, the Texas Tribune reported. If enacted, HB 2744 would raise the age required to purchase semiautomatic rifles in the state of Texas from 18 to 21, a move that many other states have already adopted.
The bill would face an uphill battle in both Republican-controlled chambers of the state legislature, as well as pushback from Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who said last August that such a law would be “unconstitutional.”
This bill comes on the heels of the state’s latest mass shooting, where a 33-year-old gunman opened fire at the Allen Premium Outlets, killing eight people before being shot and killed by police. The shooting, which also left seven people hospitalized, was the state’s second mass shooting in less than 10 days; a man shot into his neighbor’s home late last month, killing five.
In both cases, the suspects used an assault rifles in the attack. President Biden has reiterated his calls to enact stricter gun laws and ban assault rifles in the country, but that decision is ultimately left to Congress.
“Once again I ask Congress to send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Enacting universal background checks. Requiring safe storage. Ending immunity for gun manufacturers. I will sign it immediately. We need nothing less to keep our streets safe,” he said in a statement Sunday.
Volunteers from Moms Demand Action, an advocacy group that calls for stricter gun laws, were in attendance at the committee hearing Monday, as well as some families of the victims of the 2022 Uvalde school shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
“Today’s vote is a crucial step in the right direction, but we won’t give up. We will keep holding lawmakers in Texas—and across the nation—accountable until life-saving measures like HB 2744 become law,” the group said in a statement on Twitter .