DALLAS — In the wake of the Uvalde massacre, several gun reform bills have been introduced this legislative session.
And in our latest episode of Y’all-itics we explore whether any of the proposals will even make it out of committee.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat from San Antonio whose district includes Uvalde, is behind much of the legislation.
Perhaps the most visible lawmaker, and certainly one of the most vocal, in the wake of the Robb Elementary massacre last May, Senator Gutierrez recently had several Uvalde families in the Senate chamber.
He says he wanted his colleagues to understand those families will not stop lobbying and knocking on doors until they get some of the change in gun laws they’re after.
And the Senator says nobody wants to join their “godawful” club.
“I had a discussion once, very recently, with one of the leaders here in in the Capitol, and I said this is going to happen to someone you know,” the Senator said on Y’all-itics. “I said I promise you, six degrees of separation, but it’s going to happen. This is going to happen to someone each and every one of us knows within six degrees of separation.”
Among other things, Senator Gutierrez’s bills would address a bulk ammunition database, in which case you’d have to show ID to buy bullets in bulk, similar to the way consumers now have to purchase pseudoephedrine. And a purchase of 200 rounds or more of ammunition would require a background check.
Another bill would establish new rules for the storing and safekeeping of firearms.
And in one of his more controversial bills, he would raise the age limit for anyone attempting to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21.
Brett Cross lost his 10-year-son Uziyah Garcia in the Uvalde tragedy.
He’s joined Senator Gutierrez for many events and was even invited to attend President Biden’s recent State of the Union address.
Cross calls the gun safety measures “common sense,” including raising age limits, which he points out already exist for many other products, including alcohol.
“You can’t buy things that are going to kill you, but you can walk into a store two days after your birthday and buy two weapons and all that ammo and go shoot up an elementary school. It just doesn’t make sense,” Cross told us.
Senator Gutierrez often cites parents such as David Cross as reasons he’ll keep fighting.
The Democrat knows it will be a tough row to hoe, as Republicans control the Texas Senate and House. And Governor Abbott, for his part, has already said any age restrictions are unconstitutional.
But the Senator says he’ll keep trying to persuade Republicans.
“A few of them have come up to me. And I am in discussions with a few of them. We need six of them. We need six votes in the Senate. We need about 11 votes in the House to be able to get some things done for our communities,” said the Democrat. “And so, it's my hope that it's those six that represent the urban soccer moms or Republican soccer moms that are out there telling them, look, what these folks are proposing makes perfect sense.”
As part of that effort to win hearts and minds, the Senator is also backing an innovative marketing campaign targeting suburban parents.
“DoSomethingTexas.org” encourages parents to sign a petition and contact their representative to support gun safety legislation.
“I think that America needs to understand how dangerous this thing is. And how dangerous it is to have in the hands of young men that are unqualified and untrained to carry these kinds of weapons, militarized weapons that we use in a war setting,” Senator Gutierrez said.