Following the tragic shooting in Allen, Texas, over the weekend, two Republicans in a Texas House committee voted with Democrats to raise the age for semi-automatic rifle purchases larger than a .22 caliber from 18 to 21.
The Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety called a short-notice meeting Monday morning to pass House Bill 2744 by State Rep. Tracy King (D–Uvalde) from the committee.
King filed the measure in response to the horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde last year.
In a nine-member committee with a 5-4 makeup of Republicans to Democrats, Republican State Reps. Justin Holland of Heath and Sam Harless of Spring voted with Democrats to approve the measure.
Although the Allen shooter was 33 and HB 2744 would have had no effect on the shooter’s ability to obtain a firearm, gun control advocates turned out at the Capitol Monday morning to call for the passage of HB 2744 and similar restrictive measures.
In response to a shooting carried out by a 33 year old man, a bill to bar 18-20 year olds from purchasing certain firearms is passed through committee.
Now is the time to DOUBLE DOWN on defending gun rights, not give in.
— Texas Gun Rights (@TXGunRights) May 8, 2023
Wes Virdell, the Texas State director of Gun Owners of America, said the organization was “extremely disappointed” with the votes by Harless and Holland.
“The idea that people who are willing to commit murder will follow a law regulating the age limit to buy a firearm is ludacris and out of touch with reality. As we saw on Sunday, someone intent on murdering people will use any method available to them to include automobiles,” said Virdell. “We have yet to see any anti-2A advocates lobby for raising the age to drive a car or to make purchasing an automobile harder. Both objects are amoral and can be used for good or bad. We have had firearms in this society for centuries without these problems. The root of the problem will not be solved by taking away American’s right to self defense.
HB 2744 will now move to the House Calendars Committee, where the committee can choose to schedule the bill for a House floor vote. Thursday, May 11, is the last day a House bill can be approved by the House.