EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — Its been one full year after tragedy struck Uvalde, Texas when a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School killing 21 people, 19 of those being children.
CBS4 spoke to Texas Representative, Joe Moody, about the 2023 legislative session and the bill that was proposed to reform gun control in the state.
The legislative session ends on Monday and Moody said progress towards gun control reform in the state is at at standstill.
“This session is not going to result in the legislation that we wanted but that does not mean, its the end of this story," Moody said.
Moody represented parts of El Paso County and was a part of the investigative committee that was sent to Uvalde in 2022.
He said multiple system failures were discovered that may have led to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary.
“Some of that was due to the lack of security of the school. Some of that was due to improper actions by law enforcement. Some of that was due to lack of supports and services for students and one very big part of it was access to high power firearms for individuals that shouldn't have access to firearms,” Moody said.
This resulted in the formation of the "raise the age" bill.
It's legislation that would raise the minimum age for purchasing high powered firearms from 18 to 21-years-old, something that Moody said would have prevented the mass shooting at Uvalde because the attacker was only 18-years-old.
"Right now the law says an 18 year old can purchase these and that's what happened there. In fact, the attacker tried to purchase those multiple times before turning 18 and was thwarted every time. Showing that our laws actually work. But once he turned 18 and that impediment was removed, he could begin his assault on those kids and those teachers," Moody said.
While the bipartisan bill did pass the Texas House Committee, it did not advance further and will not go to Governor Greg Abbotts desk by the end of the legislative session.
“We passed it out of the house committee that I serve on. We worked on it as hard as we could. We even made it a bipartisan vote. We had 2 republicans vote on it too. Ultimately we need people inside this building who are going to listen to people outside the building. The people of Texas know this is a common sense measure that does not violate any constitutional rights. And it's going to save lives," Moody said.
Certain politicians are concerned about the bill getting stalled, given the recent mass shootings including one in 2019 at a Walmart in El Paso, Uvalde in 2022 and the Allen Texas shooting that happened earlier this month.
While the attacker in the Allen mass shooting was 33-years-old and would not have been stopped by the 'raise the age' bill, Moody said the bill would save lives and he found it disheartening that it did not make it further in the session.
“What is it going to take? I don't know. But I can tell you this. I’m not going to stop working on it. I made a promise to the people in El Paso that I wouldn't and when I left Uvalde last year I made that same promise to those families," Moody said.
The 2023 Texas legislative session ends on Monday and the next session wont be until 2025.
In the meantime, Moody encourages people of all ages to get involved in political activism.
"We have to continue to push for that change and bring people along with us. It is hard sometimes. It is disheartening. It can get frustrating. It can get angry. But at the end of all those emotions you need to keep and hold onto hope because that's what's going to drive us to succeeding and getting good policies for this state."
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