March For Our Lives held a rally outside the state capital in Austin on Saturday with parents who lost their children in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, families and survivors of a 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting, and youth activists, to to demand action on gun safety from Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
“Three months since the horrific and avoidable tragedy at Robb Elementary School, Governor Abbott has still taken no action to protect children and prevent gun violence. With children all over Texas returning to school in the coming weeks, Abbott’s inaction is unscrupulous.” March For Our Lives said in a statement Friday.
Victims and families of shooting victims demanded that Abbott call a special hearing to raise the minimum age for purchasing an assault weapon in Texas from 18 to 21.
“These weapons belong in the military, they belong in the war, not in the classroom,” said Maggie Mireles, sister of primary school teacher Eva Mireles, who was killed in the shooting at Robb primary school in Uvalde.
Many speakers, including Mireles, called on Texans to vote Abbott out of office.
Mireles said that when her family met Abbott, they asked him to change gun laws. “He said he would work hard to do that and it hasn’t happened,” she said.
The crowd could be heard chanting “vote him out,” referring to Abbott, and “raise the age,” between the speakers.
Speakers included parents of children killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting, families of murdered teachers and families and survivors of mass shootings across the country.
“It’s time to stop using mental health as an excuse for these mass shootings, when in reality it gives teenagers easy access to buy ARs,” said Belinda Arriola, whose granddaughter Amory Garza was killed in the Robb shooting. Elementary School in May.
Arriola criticized Abbott for his lack of action on gun control and called on him to convene a special session to raise the age limit for buying assault weapons, saying it should have happened three months ago.
“You spoke these words shamefully and disrespectfully: ‘The tragedy in Uvalde could have been worse’. No governor, the tragedy in Uvalde should never have happened,” Arriola said.
Families affected by the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting also gathered, following on from promises of change made by lawmakers that were never fulfilled.
“We’ve been promised a lot. We’ve asked for a lot of things and nothing has ever changed,” said a speaker whose son was killed in the Santa Fe shooting and identified only as Rosie. “Greg Abbott, I’m asking you to do something. You sat us at a round table, you promised us a lot of things and you let us down.’
Rosie added: “We’re never going to stop a school shooting, we can’t kid ourselves that we can do that. But we can make it harder. And we need the people who make it harder.”
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