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Uvalde families advocate for gun reform at a congressional hearing

Memorial for 19 students and two faculty members placed outside of Robb Elementary School on May 26, 2022.
Patricia Lim
Memorial for 19 students and two faculty members placed outside of Robb Elementary School on May 26, 2022.

Texas lawmakers and families of the victims of the Robb Elementary school massacre testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday to advocate for federal gun reform.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee began the hearing with the sound of gunfire from the day an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde.

Those affected by the shooting testified before the committee, which is searching for bipartisan solutions to end gun violence.

"You may never understand what my family is going through, and I'm not asking you to. But today you can make a change to help families never have to feel what my family feels, the families of Uvalde feel, and the many others of the mass shootings," said Faith Mata, the older sister of 10-year-old victim Tess Mata. "When we make it accessible for people for mental health problem to get these weapons, we're failing America. And you failed my sister."

Dr. Roy Guerrero, the Uvalde pediatrician who treated victims of the May 24 mass shooting, spoke about the severity of the wounds he saw as a result of the AR-15 used in the shooting.

"The child had a chest wound so large you could probably put your hand through it," Guerrero said. "These were devastating injuries that no one could have survived."

Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez became emotional when he spoke about the botched law enforcement response to the shooting. Officers waited more than an hour to confront the gunman.

"Brave little girls called 9-1-1 while law enforcement waited outside just a few feet away," Gutierrez said. "Not one law official took control inside or outside that building."

Camille Phillips and Dan Katz contributed to this report.

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