Gun debate lacking from Texas hearings on Uvalde taking pictures

Gun debate lacking from Texas hearings on Uvalde taking pictures

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — First public hearings in Texas investigating Uvalde Faculty bloodbath have centered on a cascade of errors by legislation enforcement, safety in class buildings and psychological well being care with scant point out of the reform of the AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and the marksman’s pistol.

A day after the Texas state police chief known as the police response to the Might 24 bloodbath an “abject failure,” On Wednesday, Texas senators turned their consideration to psychological well being funding for faculties and a scarcity of psychological well being counselors and suppliers.

To date, lawmakers and witnesses at hearings on the Texas Capitol have barely talked about the gun debate. Throughout one of many few occasions it did come up, Democratic Sen. José Menéndez requested Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Division of Public Security, whether or not the attacker might have brought about as a lot injury with a bat, a knife or a gun.

“No,” McCraw mentioned.

The botched response to the assault that left 19 youngsters and two academics killed at Robb Elementary has angered the nation, and a current wave of lethal mass shootings has renewed the push for extra gun legal guidelines.

By the weekend, the US Senate might move new laws that might toughen background checks for youthful gun consumers and require extra sellers to run background checks.

Wednesday’s listening to in Texas had barely begun when lawmakers not on the committee argued over what weapons needs to be allowed within the state Capitol, the place weapons are and the place not rifles. Rep. Gina Hinojosa, a Democrat, tweeted that lawmakers ought to “be life like about our capability to maintain the general public protected from AR-15s.” Briscoe Cain, one of many extra conservative members of the Home, responded that lengthy rifles “shouldn’t be banned on Capitol Hill.”

Outdoors the Texas Senate chamber, practically two dozen members of the gun management group Mothers Demand Motion for Gun Sense in America lined the doorway, holding indicators criticizing Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and urging lawmakers to think about new restrictions on the sale and possession of weapons.

“We’re bored with these do-nothing committees and roundtables which have taken place after each mass taking pictures in Texas,” mentioned Melanie Greene of Austin. “They speak about what went mistaken and it is often something however weapons. We’re bored with all of the speaking and we would like some motion.”

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The group desires lawmakers to think about elevating the age of gun possession from 18 to 21, background checks on all gun gross sales, and a “crimson flag” legislation to permit authorities to take weapons from these deemed harmful. . The gunman at Robb Elementary was an 18-year-old former scholar, Salvador Ramos.

Greene is just not optimistic. “This committee is a canine and pony present. It’s performative political theater. However we’re not going to surrender,” Greene mentioned.

Texas doesn’t require a allow to hold a protracted rifle just like the one utilized in Uvalde. Final 12 months, lawmakers made it authorized for anybody over the age of 21 to hold a firearm in public with out a license, background examine or coaching.

The Republican-dominated state legislature has spent the previous decade eradicating restrictions on firearms whilst Texas suffered a spate of mass shootings. which have left greater than 85 lifeless within the final 5 years: an El Paso Walmart, a church in Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe Excessive Faculty outdoors of Houston and within the oil zone of West Texas.

Republican Senator Bob Corridor tried to divert the opening listening to from any dialogue of weapons.

“You do not want a gun. This man had sufficient time to do it along with his arms or a baseball bat. And so he is not the gun, he is the particular person,” Corridor mentioned Tuesday.

Senator Royce West, one of many few Democrats on the Senate panel to boost the difficulty of gun management, mentioned “with out having a dialogue about these rights and limits related to them, that is going to be an incomplete dialogue.”

Nonetheless, it is the delays and errors within the police response at Robb Elementary Faculty which are the main focus of federal, state, and native investigations.

The state’s public security chief mentioned Tuesday that police had sufficient officers and firepower on the faculty to arrest Ramos three minutes after he entered the constructing, however they waited greater than an hour. earlier than storming the classroom and killing him.

McCraw described a collection of missed alternatives, communication failures, and errors based mostly on analysis that included roughly 700 interviews. He additionally put a lot of the blame on Pete Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde faculty district. who McCraw mentioned was the commander in cost.

Arredondo, who testified Tuesday at a closed-door Texas Home committee listening to, mentioned he didn’t take into account himself in cost. and assumed another person had taken management. He has refused repeated requests for remark from The Related Press.

The Uvalde mayor denied that McCraw blamed Arredondo, saying the Division of Public Security has repeatedly printed false details about the taking pictures and ignored the position of its personal officers.

Public stress has elevated for state and native officers to launch extra data.

On Wednesday, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, filed a lawsuit to pressure the Texas Division of Public Security to show over his information associated to the taking pictures investigation. The households of the victims “need to know the total and unalterable reality about what occurred that day,” an lawyer for the Democrat wrote within the lawsuit.


Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Related Press author John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, contributed to this report.


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