The sister of a 9-year-old girl killed in the Uvalde school massacre tearfully pleaded with Texas lawmakers on Thursday to pass a gun safety bill.
“I’m begging you guys to do something,” said Jazmine Cazares, whose younger sister Jacklyn was one of 19 children and two teachers shot dead at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
“The people who were supposed to protect her at school didn’t,” Cazares, 17, sobs. “They failed.”
Cazares, who appeared before a committee of lawmakers investigating how to prevent future mass shootings, pushed for the state to pass background checks and “red flag laws” to keep firearms out of the hands of unbalanced people.
She said 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos — a loner who was bullied for a speech impediment and who showed signs of declining mental health after a recent suspension — was able to get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon too quickly.
“A few days after he turned 18, he bought an AR-15 and hundreds of rounds of ammunition,” she said.
Cazares also criticized the school district and police, who remained inactive for almost 80 minutes while Ramos killed children in the classroom, for lack of preparation for the attack.
One of the school’s security measures, she said, included calling on teachers to lock their doors, but some educators were unable to do so.
“How [is that possible] when some of those classroom doors didn’t lock? she said.
Cazares’ emotional testimony came the same day that the Supreme Court announced a ruling that would greatly expand gun rights, saying that Americans have the right to carry firearms in public.
Jacqueline loved to sing and dance and dreamed of going to Paris when she graduated, Cazares told the committee.
“She was one of the sweetest souls anyone has ever met,” the teen said.
Over the past decade, the Republican-controlled Texas legislature has put an end to gun restrictions, even as the state has suffered a spate of mass shootings that have killed more than 85 people in the past five years.
Delays and errors in law enforcement response during the Uvalde mass shooting are the focus of federal, state and local investigations.
The head of the Texas State Police this week called it a “terrible failure,” adding that law enforcement’s response contradicted everything he had learned since the 1999 Columbine High School mass shooting.
With mail wires