AUSTIN, Texas – We have an update on yesterday’s story about Valley Interfaith being angry with state Rep. Ryan Guillen.

Valley Interfaith supports House Bill 2744, legislation authored by state Rep. Tracy King that would raise the age a person can buy semi-automatic rifles. King, D-Batesville, represents Uvalde in the Texas House.

Although HB 2744 was successfully voted out of the committee Guillen chairs, the House Select Committee on Community Safety, it will not be heard by the full House. One of the reasons is Guillen, R-Rio Grande City, would not submit his committee report on HB 2744, thus preventing it from being heard by the Calendars Committee. Guillen voted against the bill in committee.

Kimberly Mata-Rubio

King authored his bill in response to the 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in which an 18-year-old used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle to shoot 39 people – mostly schoolchildren in the fourth grade – killing 21 of them.

One the 21 to die was ten-year-old Lexi Rubio. Her mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, has, along with other Uvalde families, been at the state Capitol advocating for HB 2744.

When the deadline came and went for Guillen to file his committee report, Mata-Rubio tweeted: “This isn’t over. We will regroup, re-strategize and come back stronger. Ryan Guillen, Dustin Burros, Dade Phelan, Texans see you and they won’t forget. It’s my personal mission to travel to your districts and share Lexi’s story, and the disrespect shown to Uvalde families.”

Burrows, R-Lubbock, is chair of the Calendars Committee. Phelan, also a Republican, is speaker of the House.

In another tweet about the failure to get HB 2744 heard on the House floor, Mata-Rubio wrote: “Uvalde families didn’t fail. Texas politicians did. We were up against a brick wall but the dent we left is notable. You f*3%@d with the wrong parents and moms and dads dads across this state will remember.”

Also, La Unión del Pueblo Entero members claim Guillen locked his Capitol office door so they could not enter to engage with him on HB 2744 and other border legislation.

Here is the original story:

Valley Interfaith: Guillen is ‘actively suppressing’ assault rifle age bill from reaching House floor

By Steve Taylor

AUSTIN, Texas – State Rep. Ryan Guillen may well be the chairman of the House Select Committee on Community Safety but a community group in the Rio Grande Valley says he is not keeping Texas communities safe.

Valley Interfaith alleges that Guillen, R-Rio Grande City, is “actively suppressing” House Bill 2744 from heading to the Calendars Committee by not submitting a Committee report on the bill.

State Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville, is author of HB 2744. He represents Uvalde. King’s bill would raise the age a person could buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. 

King authored his bill in response to the 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in which an 18-year-old used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle to shoot 39 people – mostly schoolchildren in the fourth grade – killing 21 of them.

Rosalie Tristan, a Valley Interfaith leader from Raymondville.

King’s bill was voted out of Guillen’s committee earlier this week with two Republicans joining all the Democrats in support of the measure. Guillen was not one of those two Republicans. He voted against it.

“We’re very, very angry at what’s going on, with them holding this bill hostage,” Valley Interfaith leader Rosalie Tristan of Raymondville told the Rio Grande Guardian

Tristen said Guillen has until 10 o’clock tonight to submit his committee report on HB 2744.

“After that is too late,” Tristan said. “They (Republicans) are just playing with us, showing us a carrot that this is going to happen and then at the last minute, it doesn’t happen.”

According to opinion polls, 70% of Republicans in the state of Texas support raising the age at which a person can purchase semi-automatic weapons.

A news release from the Industrial Areas Foundation of Texas, of which Valley Interfaith is a member, issued this statement:

“It is unconscionable for this Legislature, the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and Rep. Guillen to put families across Texas through this trauma. Yesterday, when the bill was voted out of committee, Uvalde families and their allies rejoiced, along with the 76% of Texans and 60% of Republicans who support raising the legal age for purchasing an assault rifle. It is unacceptable for Rep. Guillen to block the democratic process. This bill has earned the right to be heard on the floor of the House of Representatives.”

The Rev. Minerva Camarena-Skeith, of Austin Interfaith,said Guillen needs to forward his committee report to the Calendars Committee while state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, needs to call an emergency meeting of the Calendars Committee to include HB 2744 on the list of bills to be considered on Thursday, the last day for a House bill to be considered for first reading. 

Burrows, who chairs Calendars, is also a member of House Select Committee on Community Safety. Like Guillen, he voted against HB 2744 in committee.

State Rep. Joe Moody of El Paso.

“Guillen and Burrows should come together and let the representatives vote their conscience on the House floor. Overwhelmingly, Texans support increasing the age limit of when people can buy assault weapons,” Camarena-Skeith said. 

The Rio Grande Guardian has emailed Guillen’s press office asking for comment. We will add it to this story when it arrives. 

IAF added: “As a statewide network and with constituents from both Rep. Burrows and Rep. Guillen’s district we are demanding that everything is done to make sure that this bill is heard on the floor (of the House) by this Thursday, May 11th.”

State Representative Joe Moody (D-El Paso), is a member of the House Select Committee on Community Safety. He voted in favor of HB 2744 in committee.

“When I was sent to Uvalde to investigate the Robb Elementary shooting, I saw a community in the kind of agony that will never fully go away, one like we experienced in El Paso after our 2019 mass shooting. I made a promise to those families that I’d never stop fighting for them in the Capitol, and that’s what I’ve done this session. To the last day, the last minute, the last second–we never gave up, and now we have a bipartisan vote on Chairman King’s bill,” Moody said.

“As someone who investigated the shooting, I can tell you with utter confidence that it never would have happened if this bill had been the law last year. These are preventable tragedies, and that’s what this (bill) is one step towards.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows state Rep. Ryan Guillen and state Rep. Tracy King.

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