House committee members skip debate on gun control

House committee members skip debate on gun control
Lawmaker said the state should raise minimum age to buy AR-15

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A no-show and a statement ended the chances of some of the state's most notable school safety and gun control proposals to pass this year.

The bill killing started early when only three members of the public safety and homeland security committee showed up for a meeting on gun control legislation.

One of the proposals would have raised the minimum age to purchase many semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. Another bill would have allowed judges to order a firearm be taken away if they are shown to have a history of making threats. The last bill would have been a semi automatic weapon ban.

The only three members of the 11-person committee were democrats Rep. Mary Moore and Thomas Jackson and Republican Allen Farley.

Rep. Chris England did arrive but left to go to another committee meeting when he saw there were not enough members.

The representatives who didn't attend the meeting were: Allen Treadaway (family medical issue), Will Ainsworth, Dickie Drake, Tommy Hanes, Connie Rowe, Harry Shiver and Isaac Whorton.

Rep. Juandalynn Givan, sponsor of the legislation to raise the minimum buying age for some weapons, called the missing members "cowards" for not be willing to give the bills an up and down vote.

"Our kids walked out of school last week, and we can't come to a meeting to take a vote," Givan said.

Givan said she was "embarrassed" of lawmakers refusing to take a vote, effectively killing the bills.

"This morning we walked away from children," Givan said. "The children across the country have shown better leadership than members of our legislature."

Ainsworth and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon released statements saying that Ainsworth's bill, which would allow some teachers to be armed in the classroom, would not pass this session.

In statements, both the house speaker and Ainsworth blamed democrats for a filibuster, which killed the bill.

Republicans hold a super majority in both the House and Senate and have the ability to end a Democratic filibuster.

Ainsworth said he would push the governor to call a special session this summer on school safety.

Ainsworth was seen collecting signatures on what looked like a petition for the governor to call a special session.

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