Salvador Ramos Bought Firearm on 18th Birthday due to Texas Gun Law Change

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?"

It's not the first time teenagers in Texas have been responsible for deadly rampages involving firearms, often circumventing gun legislation.

In 2018, a 17-year-old student opened fire into Santa Fe ISD High School, near Houston, using a shotgun legally owned by his father. The gunman, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, killed eight students and two teachers.

In 2019, 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius shot and killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso with a gun he said he had bought from a seller in Romania and picked up at a store in Dallas.

It's been reported that the gunman shot his 66-year-old grandmother before heading to the primary school, but the woman's condition is unknown. A video posted on Facebook by a Uvalde resident and verified by Sky News captured the moment Ramos entered the school, wearing body armor and holding a rifle.

What my girls just sent me this is at Robb. Prayers for the kids and staff

Ramos, who had been a student at Uvalde High School, entered the school and opened fire at about 11:30 a.m., after crashing his car outside the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety. A resident of the area called 911 after hearing the car crashing, and two police officers on the scene exchanged fire with the shooter.

It's not clear when and where this fire exchange happened. Both officers were reportedly shot.

Border Patrol agents, including 10 to 15 members of a SWAT-like tactical and counter-terrorism unit then rushed to the school, according to Border Patrol regional official Jason Owens. According to the Associated Press, one Border Patrol agent then entered the school and shot the gunman, killing him.

The shooting at the Uvalde primary school is the latest in a series of mass school shootings in the U.S. in the past couple of decades, and the deadliest since the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012, in which 26 people were killed.

The rampage in Texas on Tuesday has reignited a fierce debate at a federal level on gun legislation, as the country asks itself how to avoid such tragedies in the future.

Uvalde school shooting
Families hug outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center where grief counseling will be offered in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. The teenage gunman who killed 19 children and two adults has reportedly bought two firearms on his 18th birthday earlier this month. ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images