Anti-Gun Bill Advances After Allen Mass Shooting

Rifles on display for purchase | Image by DmyTo, Shutterstock

A committee in the Texas Legislature advanced a bill to raise the legal age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles in the wake of last Saturday’s mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen.

HB 2744, introduced by Rep. Tracy King (D-Batesville), was reported favorably by the Texas House Select Committee on Community Safety on Monday in an 8-5 vote, which pushed the bill forward to the House Calendars Committee for possible scheduling.

If enacted, the bill would make it illegal to sell a “semiautomatic rifle that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine and that has a caliber greater than .22” to someone under the age of 21.

As previously reported in The Dallas Express, the tragedy in Allen prompted anti-gun demonstrators to protest outside a Sunday evening vigil for the victims.

“What I would like to see is the stop of the sale of assault-style rifles. That’s what I would like to see because those don’t have a place in society,” Imanol Miranda told The Dallas Express that evening.

In a statement the day after the shooting, President Joe Biden referred to the shooter’s weapon as an “AR-15 style” rifle, similar to the type of gun used in last year’s Robb Elementary shooting in Uvalde, which killed 21 people, including 19 children and two teachers.

Some parents from Uvalde were at the Capitol voicing support for HB 2744 when the bill was advanced out of committee.

“Honoring her [Lexi’s] legacy with action. It’s my greatest responsibility. That’s why I get out of bed in the morning,” said Kim Rubio, the mother of a Uvalde shooting victim, NBC 5 reported. “It makes me feel like she’s changed hearts. That people really heard our message and our story.”

Still, not all Texans were pleased with the move.

Rep. Justin Holland (R-Rockwall), who voted in favor of the bill, caught some blowback online from supporters of the Second Amendment.

“[Do] you also recommend increasing the minimum age to serve in the military to 21? This is an absurd encroachment on the 2nd Amendment rights of legal adults,” tweeted Plano resident Adam Rizzieri.

The Texas Young Republican Federation echoed Rizzieri’s sentiments in a statement, arguing, “We firmly believe that anyone who can exercise the fundamental right to vote or is considered old enough to die for their country should also enjoy all the protections our Constitution guarantees.”

Midland resident Ross Schumann tweeted, “I look forward to donating handsomely to the person who opposes you in the primary.”

Even Kyle Rittenhouse expressed his frustration with Holland.

“18 year olds can join the military. They can vote They can get married But you are trying to infringe on not just my rights but all 18-20 year olds gun rights,” Rittenhouse tweeted at Holland.

In a statement defending his vote, Holland said:

“[A]fter listening to many hours of testimony over this session, I became convinced that this small change to the law might serve as a significant roadblock to a young person … acquiring a specific type of semiautomatic rifle intent upon using it in a destructive and illegal manner.”

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