The sister of a 9-year-old girl slaughtered in the Uvalde school massacre tearfully pleaded with Texas lawmakers Thursday to pass gun safety legislation.
“I’m here begging for you guys to do something,” said Jazmin Cazares, whose little sister, Jacklyn, was one of the 19 kids and two teachers gunned down at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
“People who were supposed to keep her safe at school didn’t,” Cazares, 17, sobbed. “They failed.”
Cazares — who appeared before a committee of lawmakers investigating how to prevent future mass shootings — insisted the state should adopt background checks and “red flag laws” to keep firearms out of the hands of unhinged people.
She said 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos — a loner who was bullied over his speech impediment and had been showing signs of deteriorating mental health after a recent suspension — was able to get his hands on a semi-automatic weapon too quickly.
“Days after turning 18, he bought an AR-15, hundreds of rounds of ammunition,” she said.
Cazares also criticized the school district and police — who failed to take action for nearly 80 minutes as Ramos killed children inside a classroom — for their lack of preparation before the attack.
One of the school’s security measures included urging teachers to lock doors, but that wasn’t an option for some educators, she said.
“How [is that possible] when some of those classroom doors didn’t lock?” she said.
Cazares’ emotional testimony came the same day the Supreme Court announced a decision allowing a major expansion of gun rights, saying that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public.
Jacklyn loved singing and dancing and dreamed of going to Paris when she graduated, Cazares told the committee.
“She was one of the sweetest souls anybody would ever meet,” the teen said.
Over the past decade, the Republican-controlled legislature in Texas has put the kibosh on gun restrictions even as the state has suffered through a string of mass shootings that have killed more than 85 people in the past five years.
Delays and mistakes in the law enforcement response during the mass shooting in Uvalde are at the center of federal, state and local investigations.
The head of the Texas state police this week called it an “abject failure,” adding that the response by law enforcement flew in the face of everything he’d learned since the Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999.
With Post wires
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