Texas city to consider raising minimum age to buy 'AR-15 style weapons' to 21

The resolution comes amid protests in favor of gun control at the Texas Capitol in downtown Austin

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The Austin City Council will vote on a measure this week to explore ways that the city can raise the minimum age to buy certain firearms. 

"Approve a resolution directing the City Manager to explore every option that would allow the City to prohibit or reduce the sale of AR-15 style weapons and other semi-automatic rifles to anyone below the age of 21," the agenda for Thursday's city council meeting says. 

Protests have been held at the Texas Capitol in downtown Austin following last month's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in which an 18-year-old allegedly used an AR-15 style rifle to murder 19 children and two adults. 

Gloria Cazares, mother of Jackie Cazares who was killed in Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, reacts to a speech during a "March for Our Lives" rally, one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 11, 2022.  

Gloria Cazares, mother of Jackie Cazares who was killed in Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, reacts to a speech during a "March for Our Lives" rally, one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence, in Austin, Texas, U.S. June 11, 2022.   (REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent letters to leaders of the state House and Senate earlier this month, directing them to form special committees to consider policy changes on school safety, mental health, social media, police training, and firearm safety.

SENATE ANNOUNCES BIPARTISAN FRAMEWORK FOR GUN CONTROL PACKAGE

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan released a plan on Monday to reallocate tens of millions of dollars for mental health and school safety. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who presides over the state senate, proposed using $50 million in existing state funds to buy bulletproof shields for every member of Texas school police forces.

Saint Victor AR-15 Rifle is displayed during the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston, Texas, U.S. May 27, 2022. 

Saint Victor AR-15 Rifle is displayed during the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston, Texas, U.S. May 27, 2022.  (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

The Texas legislature is not scheduled to meet again until next January, though some democratic lawmakers have urged Abbott to call a special legislative session in the wake of the Uvalde shooting. 

At the national level, the House passed a bill last week to raise the minimum age to buy semiautomatic rifles to 21. 

A banner hangs at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, June 3.

A banner hangs at a memorial outside Robb Elementary School on Friday, June 3. (AP/Eric Gay)

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The House bill will not pass the Senate, but Republican and Democratic negotiators in the upper chamber reached an agreement this week to include juvenile crime and mental health records on federal background checks when anyone between the age of 18 and 20 attempts to buy a firearm.