Texas House panel advances bill to raise purchase age for semi-automatic rifles


A Texas House committee advanced a measure Monday that would raise the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles in an unexpected change after nine people were killed in a shooting at a Dallas-area mall over the weekend.

The Community Safety Select Committee approved the measure in a 8-5 vote, with two Republicans supporting the Democratic bill. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Tracy King, who represents Uvalde, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school last May.

Under the provisions of the bill, the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine and with a caliber greater than .22 would be raised from 18 to 21 years.

King and Reps. Sam Harless and Justin Holland, the two Republicans who backed the legislation, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday night.

Several states, mostly Democratic-led, have raised the minimum purchase age for semi-automatic rifles in recent years.

Monday’s vote came two days after suspected gunman Mauricio Garcia, 33, killed eight people, including a 3-year-old boy and his parents, before being killed by a police officer, the media said. authorities.

The measure still has a good chance of passing the House, where Republicans hold an 86-64 lead over Democrats. Republicans also control the Senate, 19-12, and the Governor’s Mansion.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.

Abbott, who recently came under fire for calling victims of a previous shooting «illegal immigrants,» said in a Fox News interview After the mall shooting, Texas focused on addressing the «root cause» by targeting mental health.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that is happening in the United States,” Abbott said. “People want a quick fix. The long-term solution here is to address the issue of mental health.»

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