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Gun control advocates protested in front of the Texas State Capitol Saturday to advocate for age restrictions after a federal judge in Texas lifted a ban on young adults from carrying firearms.

A Fort Worth federal court tossed the state’s law that prohibited people ages 18 through 20 from being able to carry a handgun.

“The Second Amendment doesn’t have any sort of age restriction. The absence is notable,” U.S District Judge Mark Pittman wrote in the ruling. “Based on the Second Amendment’s text, as informed by Founding-Era history and tradition, the Court concludes that the Second Amendment protects against this prohibition.”

This ruling comes after an 18-year-old gunman used a legally purchased AR-15-style weapon to murder 19 kids and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24. The order will not go into effect immediately, as the state of Texas has 30 days to appeal the decision.

At the rally in Austin on Saturday, families of victims and survivors marched outside of the governor’s mansion and the Capitol grounds, demanding Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special legislative session to raise the age to buy weapons and KXAN spoke with those families.

Javier Cazares, who lost his daughter in the Uvalde shooting said he was not there in political protest but to keep a promise to not let down his daughter Jackie. 

“Our children’s lives depend on common sense laws that the vast majority of Texans desperately want. No matter what their party is,” Cazares said.

His other daughter, Jazmin Cazares, also spoke at the Rally and says that not only did she lose her little sister, but she also lost her cousin, Annabelle, 19, who was also killed at Robb Elementary on May 24.

“Because of an 18-year-old boy with an AR-15, my sister never got to celebrate becoming double digits. She will forever be 9 years old,” she said. “It’s been three months since 19 children and two teachers were killed in Uvalde, and still not much has changed in Uvalde, let alone the state of Texas.” 

Speakers at Saturday’s rally included self-proclaimed Republicans and Texans of all ages, like Robb Elementary shooting survivor Kaitlyn Gonzalez.

“You have to be 21 to buy a case of beer, but an 18-year-old bought a gun to kill kids. That does not make sense,” she said.

KXAN reports that a special legislative session on this topic is likely. The governor has often deferred to other action in the legislature, pointing to interim committee work and recommendations related to school safety and mental health, as well the $100 million lawmakers transferred to the Texas Education Agency for related resources. Abbott and other Texas Republicans have maintained their stance that gun laws would not stop the violence.

To read more, visit our affiliate, KXAN.

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