UVALDE, Texas — The mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo have prompted lawmakers to plan a House committee hearing set for Wednesday to examine the issue of gun violence in America.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform, led by Rep. Carolyn B Maloney (D-NY), will hear the stories of survivors and victims’ families who are linked to the recent tragedies at an elementary school in Texas and New York super market. Multiple organizations such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Community Justice Action Fund are also slated to have representatives present for testimony.
Among those planning to tune in from their home in Lubbock are the uncle and aunt of 9-year-old Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares.
“My brother really wants to be there, wanted to be there and I don’t know why he is not because my brother wants people to hear him out because there has to be accountability. He wants to talk about the gun rights,” Jose Cazares said.
An 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary in Uvalde on May 24, shooting and killing 19 children and 2 adults just days before the start summer break.
Jackie was one of the students killed amidst the carnage. Her family describes her as a firecracker always willing to help out. She’s now recognized as someone whose helped bring people together as a community grieves and awaits answers regarding what exactly happened in terms of law enforcement’s delayed response to putting an end to the shooting two weeks ago.
Jackie, once an angel on this world is now an angel in heaven. Family and friends laid her to rest on Friday afternoon. Jackie’s aunt Geneva said the casket was adorned with a giant microphone and musical note, which was fitting since she always loved singing.
Jackie often asked her aunt and uncle to sleep in her room when they visited.
“That’s where she wanted us to sleep and the restroom was right next to it and we could just hear her singing away, singing away as she was taking a shower,” Geneva said.
“God is telling me in my way in my heart, telling me that she is a saint,” Jose said.
The scourge of mass shootings this year has sparked new conversations among President Joe Biden, Democrats and Republicans as it relates to developing legislation that aim to limit further atrocities from happening.
Jose is an Army veteran, gun owner who noted he supports the Second Amendment. But he thinks the country’s gun laws are broken and change is needed.
“My brother and I are in agreement, that the age limit for a rifle is too young. It’s just like buying bubble gum, it’s that easy,” Jose said.
He’s not too confident in law makers doing what he believes is vital to ensuring the future safety of society in a country riddled with gun violence.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) noted bipartisan legislation introduced through the Senate will stop short of raising age limits for certain guns and expanding background checks. The focus remains on targeting mental health issues and bolstering school security.
Jose and Geneva’s strong devotion to faith is what keeps them strong as can be during this traumatic time.
“This is an opportunity for a lot of politicians to grab and say hey I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that. But when it comes to the nitty-gritty it doesn’t happen. I don’t want that to happen to my family. I don’t. And that’s why I’m going to speak out.”
“Stand together, stand strong, continue to stand on our faith, put that armor of God on and don’t give up,” Geneva said.
The Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing will take place at 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday.