Uvalde County commissioners pass resolution calling for special session, raising age to buy AR-15s

Commissioners want minimum age limit for assault-style rifles to be raised to 21

FILE - Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022, after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers. The districts superintendent said Wednesday, June 22, that Chief Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school districts police chief, has been put on leave following allegations that he erred in his response to the mass shooting. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File) (Associated Press)

The Uvalde County commissioners are calling on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to bring lawmakers to Austin for a special session in the wake of the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

In a resolution passed Monday, the commissioners pushed for Texas lawmakers to consider raising the minimum age for purchasing semi-automatic assault-style rifles from 18 to 21.

The gunman in the Uvalde shooting had just turned 18 years old when he purchased two assault-style rifles legally at a local outdoors retailer.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Currently, 18 is the minimum age under federal law for buying a rifle, including assault rifles. In Texas, you must be 21 to purchase a pistol but only 18 to buy a long gun, which includes rifles and shotguns.

The commissioners’ resolution states that “during the past decade, gun violence has increased dramatically across the United States, in the State of Texas, and within our County.”

“It is our duty to protect every person and child of Uvalde County,” the resolution adds.

A special session is the only way laws can be made in Texas right now, and the only person with the authority to call one is Abbott. The next regular meeting of the Texas Legislature isn’t until January, long after students return to campus in the fall.

Since the May 24 shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, Texas Senate Democrats — and some Republicans — urged Abbott to call for a special session regarding gun laws.

One of the solutions that Democrats offered was also to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21.

But Abbott has stopped short of calling on a special session and instead asked the Texas Legislature to form special committees to make recommendations.

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About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas has worked in digital news for more than 10 years and joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.