This story is part of a KXAN reporting series called “Stop Mass Shootings,” which provides context and explores solutions around gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for legislators who will meet a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all the “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Family members and supporters of some of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting gave emotional testimony Thursday at the Texas Capitol.
His remarks were part of a joint session of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety committee and the House Youth Health and Safety select committee.
“I’m here begging you to do something,” Jazmin Cazares, a student at Uvalde High School, told the panel of 27 lawmakers.
Cazares lost his nine-year-old sister Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares and his 10-year-old cousin Annabell Rodriguez in the May 24 school massacre that claimed the lives of 19 Robb Elementary School students and two teachers.
“This morning around 5:30 I sat on my sister’s bed and cried and cried,” Cazares said. “Maybe a minute later, I wiped away my tears, got in my car and drove four hours to get here. I shouldn’t have to be here right now.
Wearing a T-shirt with her sister’s picture on it and her family sitting behind her, Cazares expressed her frustration with the security measures at the school and the response by law enforcement.
“The people who were supposed to keep [Jackie] not at school for sure,” he said. “They failed.”
Outside the hearing, Cazares told KXAN that she felt compelled to be her sister’s voice and hopes lawmakers will act.
“I know that[Jackie]was here, he would be talking as much as I am. So, I’m doing that for her,” he said.[Jackie}washereshewouldbetalkingjustmuchasIwouldSoI’mdoingthatforher”shesaid[Jackie}washereshewouldbetalkingjustasmuchasIwouldSoI’mdoingthatforher”shesaid
House committees are charged with collecting information and preparing reports on school safety, gun violence, and mental health issues.
No legislation can be passed during interim hearings. That will depend on the full legislature, which will meet in January.
Prior to Thursday’s joint hearing, members of the Texas Democratic House Caucus held a news conference and once again called on Governor Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to immediately address school safety issues and , in particular, weapons.
“This issue is bigger than politics,” said Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie). “Any elected leader needs to look at it through that lens, about doing the right thing for the people of Texas, not the right thing in the political context.”
Earlier in the week, the Governor’s Office said all options remain on the table.
“Governor Abbott took immediate action to address all aspects of egregious crime in Uvalde, including issuing six directives to make schools safer,” a spokesperson said in a statement, adding that more announcements were to come.