AUSTIN, Texas — Across Texas on Thursday, students walked out of their classes to protest gun violence. The walkouts come as many are calling on the Texas House of Representatives to vote on a bill to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21.
That bill, House Bill 2744, was voted out of committee with bipartisan support this week, two days after a mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas. But the Calendars Committee didn't set a date for the House to vote on the bill – and now it's too late for them to do that.
Still, Democrats in the House are trying to secure a vote on the legislation.
During a debate on a bill to ban Glock switches – devices that can turn handguns into fully automatic weapons – State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) tried to add the so-called "raise the age" bill as an amendment.
HB 2744 is in response to the mass shooting nearly a year ago at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The gunman legally purchased the assault-style rifle used in the attack the day after his 18th birthday and a second AR-15 style weapon May 20.
He carried out the shooting four days later.
"Let me be clear: had this been law last year, at this time, those teachers, those kids would be alive today. Full stop," Moody said Thursday.
State Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) raised a point of order against the amendment, arguing it was a different subject than the bill, and Moody pulled it down.
Still, Democrats say they will keep trying before the session ends on May 29.