Eighteen-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was named as the killer of the 19 children and two adults shot at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, bought two rifles on his 18th birthday, a Texas state senator said.
State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who said he’s in contact with local officials on the ground, said he was informed in a briefing by Texas Rangers that Ramos had bought two assault-style rifles from a store in Uvalde County earlier this month on his 18th birthday, the first day he could do so legally.
”It was the first thing that he did on his 18th birthday,” Gutierrez said, as reported by NBC. “It’s astounding to me.”
Texas legislation allows people who are 18 years old or older to to legally purchase long guns, including shotguns and rifles.
Handguns can normally only be bought by people aged 21 years old or older, but a 2021 amendment to the Texas Government Code allows people who are 18 years old to be eligible for a handgun license if they meet all other requirements except the minimum age under federal law and are under protective orders related to family violence.
Since September 1, 2021, Texas no longer requires people to have a license to carry a handgun in most public places. Restrictions remained on carrying firearms at schools.
State Senator John Whitmire, who represents the north Houston area, gave a slightly different account. He said he was briefed by officials that Ramos had purchased one of the rifles from a federally licensed gun store on May 17, one day after his birthday, the Houston Chronicle reports.
A day later, the gunman bought 375 rounds of ammunition. On May 20, he bought a second rifle.
Officials have not yet confirmed whether the two rifles were the same weapons used by Ramos in the shooting at the Robb Elementary School, but they said they recovered two AR-15 style rifles from the scene at the primary school, according to the Houston Chronicle.
President Joe Biden talked about two assault weapons in his address to the nation on Tuesday.
“The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons — it’s just wrong,” Biden said in the emotional speech. “What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for, except to kill someone?”