Cheers erupted in the halls of the Texas Capitol, signaling for the first time in a long time there was meaningful movement on gun safety legislation.
The jubilation from the crowd came after House Bill 2477 was passed out of the Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety on an 8 to 5 vote. Two Republicans, State Reps. Sam Harless and Justin Holland voted for the bill, which would raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy certain firearms, including semi-automatic rifles in Texas.
Guillen had signaled that he was not going to put up HB 2477 for a committee vote up until today, the final deadline. The bill, also known as the Raise the Age Act was introduced by State Rep. Tracy King of Uvalde.
The surprise move from Guillen occurred just two days after a mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen left eight people died, and seven injured. The victims are just being identified. They include a 20-year-old security guard named Christian LaCour, a 27-year-old engineer named Aishwarya Thatikonda, and Sofia and Daniela Mendoza, fourth and second graders at Cheri Cox Elementary School. Cindy and Kyu Cho, and their three-year-old child James also died. A GoFundMe has been set up to support their family, including a surviving son, eight-years-old, named William.
Last week five people, including a nine-year-old boy were killed in Cleveland, Texas after a neighbor opened fire with an assault rifle. And May 24, the state will mark the somber one-year anniversary of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which killed nineteen students and two teachers.
Statewide leaders like Governor Greg Abbott have decried passing gun safety legislation in the wake of these successive gun tragedies. Instead, they insist on thoughts and prayers.
It’s now up to the Calendar Committee to schedule a vote on HB 2477. The chair of the committee, Republican Dustin Burrows, has not indicated a timeframe.
The Texas Signal is a progressive, fact-based media company. Our mission is to build a media ecosystem in Texas to help get the progressive message out and challenge right-wing Republicans. Think of us as a megaphone to finally counterbalance right-wing conservatives who have successfully built their own media empire in the Lone Star State.