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Uvalde father feels heartbreak, aggravation with lawmakers a year after daughter's killing

Uvalde dad on gun control year after shooting
Uvalde dad on gun control year after Robb Elementary shooting: "They know it's a gun issue" 03:47

Nearly a year after the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, the father of a 9-year-old girl killed that day is still grappling with the tragedy.

"It is hard to explain," Javier Cazares told CBS News. "It has been an emotional roller coaster since day one. We have our good days and bad days, but we intend to push through. Sometimes it's unbearable."

Cazares' daughter Jacklyn and 18 other children, along with two teachers, were killed when a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle opened fire inside two adjoining fourth-grade classrooms. In the aftermath, allegations of widespread failures by law enforcement were bolstered by a Texas House committee report that found that nearly 400 officers responded to Robb Elementary after the shooting but hesitated for more than an hour to confront the shooter.

Javier Cazares (L), father of 9-year-old Jacklyn Cazares, who was killed during the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022, sits alongside his daughter Jazmin Cazares (R), during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on Examining the Practices and Profits of Gun Manufacturers, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2022. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Hoping to keep other parents from suffering the same tragedy, Cazares has advocated for gun control legislation. Earlier this week, Texas lawmakers advanced a bill that would raise the legal age to buy an assault-style weapon from 18 to 21, as well as prohibit firearm sales to those who are intoxicated or who have a protective order against them. The Republican-controlled state legislature has stalled the bill, virtually killing any chance of it becoming law.

"We had a small victory. You know, it came out of committee," Cazares said about the legislation. "We're still hopeful one day, you know, things will change, but in the meantime, we have to worry about another shooting. And it's a sad fact now. And we had to live through it, and I hate for somebody else to live through it, but if these laws don't change it's gonna keep on happening." 

Even after another mass shooting last weekend in his state, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has rebuffed efforts at gun control. Abbott told Fox News that "the long-term solution here is to address the mental health issue." Abbott made the comment after being presented with a poll that showed over 80% of respondents were in favor of gun reforms.

"It's really aggravating. They know it's a gun issue," Cazares said about the governor's comments. "In my opinion, they're more worried about profits than anything else. If this law was in place one year ago, it could have saved my daughter's life."

Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez Introduces Series Of Gun Reform Bills
The family of 10-year-old Jacklyn Cazares, one of the children murdered during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, holds a portrait of her during a news conference at the Texas State Capitol on January 24, 2023 in Austin, Texas. Brandon Bell / Getty Images

"But as soon as he turned 18 he bought [an AR-15 style rifle] legally and, well, you saw the aftermath," Cazares continued. "I don't understand, you know, what is it going to take for these government officials to realize, yeah, it could be mental, it is, some of it is. But the weapon is too easily accessible to 18 year olds and it shouldn't be."

For Cazares, nothing has been easy about the month marking one year since his daughter's killing. 

"May 1st, it started getting really real and emotional, and it has been, you know, every day since," Cazares said. "I just hope my daughter is proud of what we're doing. And like I said, it's very hard. This month has been very hard so far."

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