The three-member panel includes Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), as well as former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Phelan appointed Burrows as chair of the special committee.
Burrows commented that the committee members, all of whom are attorneys, would approach their responsibilities in the investigation as they would their practice of law.
“The committee does not have a set timeline by which we will be producing a report or making findings,” Burrows said.
He said that he is committed to providing the public with updates as often as possible.
Moody reflected on the shooting at a Walmart in his hometown of El Paso, in which the perpetrator murdered 23 people.
Guzman foreshadowed legislative actions “to ensure nothing like [the Uvalde shooting] ever happens again.”
Shortly after Burrows, Moody, and Guzman offered opening remarks, the committee entered into executive session to hear invited testimony from law enforcement.
Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) formed the special committee, which has the authority to subpoena documents and witnesses, after the official timeline of events from the day of the May 24 massacre became more complicated and unclear.
“The fact that we still do not have an accurate picture of what exactly happened in Uvalde is an outrage,” Phelan said in a news release on June 3.
“Every day, we receive new information that conflicts with previous reports, making it not only difficult for authorities to figure out next steps, but for the grieving families of the victims to receive closure.”
The speaker also appointed Reps. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood), Mary Gonzalez (D-Clint), Tracy King (D-Uvalde), John Kuempel (R-Seguin), and Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) to the Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety.
Each of these members represents districts where mass shootings have taken place in recent years.
In addition, Phelan also added Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo) — former chair of the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety — to the Select Committee on Youth Health and Safety.
The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the police response to the shooting in Uvalde.
Democrats have called for stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting, but some conservatives have already signaled that gun control measures are a nonstarter.
Rep. Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) wrote in a social media post, “Paying attention now? Democrats want our rifles. They can pound sand. Not. One. Inch.”
Schaefer was responding to a tweet from U.S. House Democrats that read, “Semiautomatic rifles are weapons of war. Refusing to act and save lives in this moment is an immoral abandonment of your constitutional duty.”
Members of the U.S. House passed legislation on Wednesday to increase the minimum age to own a semiautomatic rifle to 21, limit the capacity of magazines, and regulate weapons without serial numbers, among other gun control measures. The bill, H.R. 7910, passed by a vote of 223 to 204.
Only five Republicans voted for the bill, but none of those members are from Texas.
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- Brooks Landgraf
- Dade Phelan
- Drew Darby
- Dustin Burrows
- Eva Guzman
- Greg Bonnen
- Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting
- Joe Moody
- John Kuempel
- Mary González
- Matt Schaefer
- Second Amendment
- Texas House
- Texas Supreme Court
- Tracy King
- U.S. Department of Justice
- U.S. House
- Uvalde County
- Uvalde Shooting
Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."