(UVALDE, Texas) — Uvalde residents, including families of Robb Elementary School shooting victims, have signed and sent a petition against assault weapons to Randy Klein, the owner of Oasis Outback, the local sporting goods store where the gunman retrieved the AR-15 he used to shoot at the school.
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“The members of this group feel strongly about our second amendment rights and support your establishment’s commitment to selling guns and ammunition,” the petition reads. “However, we come to you today with a request.”
It continued, “Out of RESPECT for and in support of those affected by this catastrophe, we strongly urge you to cease the sale of assault rifles and the ammunition paired with them.”
The petition also asks for Klein to end the handling of gun transfers of this style of firearm from gun retail stores and manufacturers.
“Doing so will ensure that children across Uvalde County will never have to worry about a new purchase of this type of weapon,” the petition reads.
In a Wednesday meeting of the “Uvalde Strong for Gun Safety” group, a local pediatrician and gun safety advocate Roy Guerrero said that Klein will have 30 days to respond to the petition. Guerrero urged others to sign and mail in the petition themselves.
If Klein refuses to respond or meet with victims’ families, the residents behind the petition have several plans of action – including protests, media campaigns, and calls to legislators.
“I’m not here to hurt anyone’s business, but I am here to do the right thing,” Guerrero said.
Several meeting attendees and petitioners – including parents of Robb Elementary School victims – have said they are gun owners themselves and are pleading with business owners and local leaders to make a change.
“You can’t meet us at a happy medium? Just raising the age on [gun purchases]?” said Nikki Cross, the aunt of 10-year-old victim Uziyah Garcia and who is a gun owner herself. “I think that would be tremendous to start.”
In Texas, there are few restrictions on purchasing firearms. People 18 and older can legally purchase long guns, and “law-abiding Texans” can carry handguns without a license or training.
The Uvalde city council and school board have passed resolutions calling on Gov. Greg Abbot to increase the age for purchasing assault rifles.
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which advocates for gun control and studies gun laws across the country, four of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S., including the Uvalde tragedy, have happened in Texas.
Abbott has blamed the mass shooting in Uvalde on mental health issues. He has said that law enforcement believes increased gun violence is due to the growing prevalence of people with mental health issues, not lax gun laws.
Meeting attendees said they plan to keep pushing for gun safety policy, in hopes that no one forgets the May 24 tragedy.
“Nobody understands what a victim’s parent is going through, or a family member is going through,” said one attendee. “They want to sit there and they want to bash [us]. But yet, you have no idea. You’re already back to your normal life like it’s nothing.”
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