Uvalde families rally for Beto O’Rourke ahead of gubernatorial debate
EDINBURGH — Around 35 relatives of the victims of the Uvalde school shooting traveled 280 miles to the Rio Grande Valley to rally in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke on Friday, hours before his debate with Governor Greg Abbott.
Since the May shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, families of the victims have called on lawmakers to take action to prevent another similar tragedy, including raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 at 21, instituting red flag laws and requiring universal backgrounds. verifies arms purchases.
Abbott ignored their calls to call a special session of the Legislative Assembly and called the prospect of raising the minimum gun purchase age “unconstitutional” – an argument that gun control activists have disputed. , pointing to other states, including Republican-dominated Florida, that have passed similar laws.
On Friday, several parents who lost their children in the Uvalde massacre urged Texans to vote for O’Rourke, who strongly supports parent-backed gun restrictions.
“I’m speaking directly to moms when I say our babies’ lives are on that ballot. It’s happened to me, it can happen to you, and this pain, it will bring you to your knees to demand an end,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, mother of Lexi Rubio, killed in the May 24 shooting.
Watch Live: Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke’s Debate
“I implore you to ask yourself, do you want to send your child to school and have them back? Do you want to hug them every night? Do you want the opportunity to watch them grow? vote for Beto, because voting for Abbott is a big mistake. He has repeatedly refused to enact tougher gun laws and instead expanded gun rights. If Abbott had prioritized to the lives of his most vulnerable constituents rather than guns, I wouldn’t be here today. I’d be home with Lexi,” Mata-Rubio said.
In July, Abbott earmarked $105 million for school safety, including $50 million to purchase bulletproof shields for police officers. But he called gun restrictions “not a real solution” to ending mass shootings.
Mata-Rubio, along with several other families of Uvalde victims, made multiple trips to Washington and Austin, demanding that lawmakers pass meaningful gun control legislation. On a recent trip, Mata-Rubio tweeted a photo of her and her husband, Felix Rubio, sitting with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
After:What’s at stake for Abbott, O’Rourke in Friday’s debate?
After showing him a photo of their daughter in her infant casket, Mata-Rubio tweeted that she asked Cruz if he would support a federal ban on assault weapons. He said no.
During a discussion at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin in September, Cruz doubled down on his position that gun restrictions would not be effective in preventing mass shootings, instead advocating for safer schools and resources. in mental health.
On Friday, Felix Rubio, Lexi’s father who served in the military and served two tours in Iraq, said that was not enough.
“I was holding a weapon of war. It doesn’t belong in the house, and especially not in the hands of an 18-year-old kid,” Rubio said. “I went to war and came home. My daughter went to school and was murdered in her class.”
Gloria and Javier Cazares, parents of Jackie Cazares, another victim of Uvalde, echoed the Rubios.
“If changes had been made years ago my daughter would still be alive today. After 77 minutes my daughter was taken to hospital with a heartbeat. She later died so that a stranger was able to hold her hand,” said Gloria Cazares, in tears. .
“I can’t do anything to bring my daughter back. But I’m thinking of the future mother who will one day be in my place,” Cazares said.
After the families spoke, O’Rourke addressed the media. “Nothing has changed to make it less likely that another child, in any other classroom in any other community in Texas, will meet the same fate as those 19 children on May 24… with their 2 amazing teachers,” says O’Rourke.
Abbott’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.