Uvalde families continue fight for gun reform as Abbott enters new term as governor

“No one is immune to a bullet. There’s no age limit to a bullet. There’s no discrimination,” Berlinda Arreola said.

UVALDE – As Austin gets ready for Governor Greg Abbott’s inauguration, families of the Robb Elementary victims are doing their own preparations.

“We’ll never accept it, and we’ll never be able to, to be where we were before May 24th,” Berlinda Arreola, Amerie Jo Garza’s grandma said.

“An eternity since we last saw our babies,” Kim Rubio, Lexi Rubio’s mom said.

The days and weeks keep dragging on, but for Arreola, Rubio, and Gloria Cazares, the old saying isn’t true; time doesn’t heal all wounds.

“Just tired of fighting and hoping that people try to understand you or try to at least put themselves in your shoes,” Cazares, Jackie Cazares’ mom said.

It’s been almost 8 months since a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary.

“Think as a human being and not as a politician when it comes to these types of massacres because there is no coming back from it,” Arreola said.

Along with the families of the other 21 victims, these three have been fighting to change gun laws. Their primary push is to raise the age to buy an assault-style rifle from 18 to 21.

“Number one priority for us right now is definitely the age limit,” Arreola said.

“I also just hope people realize that if it had been 21, it just wouldn’t have been our kids. It would have been one of yours,” Rubio said.

Their calls for change have taken them to our nation’s capital, to Austin, and to the streets of Uvalde.

With a new legislative session and the same governor in office who wouldn’t change gun laws before, Rubio says their strategy is changing.

“We have to like take a step back and try to reach the constituents and share our story and let them know this could be their story if they don’t help us,” Rubio said.

They’re going to continue to fight for change, not only on the state level but also on a federal level.

It’s a battle they know will be hard, but one they say is necessary to protect children.

“We talk a lot about strategy, but I never want it to be lost that we are only interested in saving children,” Rubio said. “Just protecting children.”

“We’re not going to stop,” Cazares said. “And I think that’s what keeps us going is our babies.”

They mentioned they’d like the age to buy an assault-style weapon to be raised to 21.

Watch the full interview with Arreola, Rubio, and Cazares below:

Back in August, Governor Abbott said it was unconstitutional to do that. However, nine states have made it so no one under the age of 21 can.

Florida raised the age minimum to buy a weapon a month after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Illinois is working on an assault weapons ban.

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About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative 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.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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