Uvalde victims, families call for special session at March For Our Lives rally

Survivors and families gathered at a rally demanding action on gun violence.

August 27, 2022, 5:45 PM

March For Our Lives held a rally in front of the state capitol in Austin Saturday with parents who lost their children in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, families and survivors from a 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School, and youth activists, to demand action on gun safety from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

"Three months since the horrifying and preventable tragedy at Robb Elementary School, Governor Abbott still hasn't taken action to keep kids safe and prevent gun violence. With kids across Texas going back to school in the coming weeks, Abbott's inaction is unconscionable," March For Our Lives said in a statement Friday.

PHOTO: Joe Martinez, center, stands with other attendees to remember the victims of the Uvalde school shooting during a March for our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Joe Martinez, center, stands with other attendees to remember the victims of the Uvalde school shooting during a March for our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Stephen Spillman/AP
PHOTO: Angel Garza reads a letter to his step-daughter, a victim of the Uvalde school shooting, with Kimberly Garza during a March for our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Angel Garza reads a letter to his step-daughter, a victim of the Uvalde school shooting, with Kimberly Garza during a March for our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Stephen Spillman/AP

Victims and families of those killed in shootings demanded Abbott call a special session to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon in Texas from 18 to 21.

"These weapons belong in the military, they belong in the war, not in the classroom," said Maggie Mireles, the sister of elementary school teacher Eva Mireles, who was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde.

Many speakers, including Mireles, called for Texans to vote Abbott out of office.

Mireles said when her family met with Abbott they asked him to change gun laws. "He said he would be hard at work to do that and that has not happened," she said.

PHOTO: Cara Johnson attends a March for Our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, 
Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Cara Johnson attends a March for Our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Stephen Spillman/AP

The crowd could be heard chanting "vote him out," referring to Abbott, and "raise the age," between speakers.

Speakers included parents of children killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School, families of teachers killed, and families and survivors from mass shootings across the country.

"It is time to stop using mental issues as an excuse for these mass shootings. When in reality it's making easy access for teens to purchase ARs," said Belinda Arriola, whose granddaughter Amory Garza was killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting in May.

Arriola criticized Abbott for his lack of action on gun control and called on him to call a special session to raise the age limit for assault weapon purchases, saying it should have been done three months ago.

"You disgracefully, disrespectfully uttered these words: 'the tragedy in Uvalde could have been worse.' No governor, the tragedy in Uvalde should have never happened in the first place,"Arriola said.

PHOTO: A March for Our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
A March for Our Lives rally at the Texas State Capitol, Aug. 27, 2022, in Austin, Texas.
Stephen Spillman/AP

Families impacted by the Santa Fe High School shooting in 2018 also gathered, echoing promises of change made by lawmakers that were never fulfilled.

"We were promised a lot of things. We asked for a lot of things and nothing ever changed," a speaker whose son was killed in the Santa Fe shooting and was only identified as Rosie said. "Greg Abbott, I am asking you to do something. You sat us at a round table, you promised a bunch of things to us and you failed us."

Rosie added, "We're never going to stop a school shooting, we cannot fool ourselves that that we can do that. But we can make it harder. And we need the people that empower to make it harder."

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