Uvalde's Republican congressman refuses to explain why 18-year-olds can buy ARs in Texas
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) (campaign website).

On Thursday, NBC's Garrett Haake pressured Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) — the congressman who represents Uvalde — why it is legal in his state for 18-year-olds to purchase AR-style semiautomatic long guns. Gonzales repeatedly refused to answer the question and offered a series of dodges, noted The Daily Beast.

"Interviewing Gonzales near the scene of the massacre on Thursday morning, Haake pointedly asked why an 18-year-old can’t buy a beer for another three years but they can purchase an AR-15 in the state," reported Justin Baragona. "Gonzales clearly had no response. 'We have to be unified,' he shrugged, apparently trying his level best to avoid the question."

"'Why does an 18-year-old in Texas need to be able to buy an assault rifle?' Haake pushed back," noted the report. "'The reality is this isn’t a new topic,' the Texas Republican deflected once more. 'There’s been a lot of legislation that’s been out there.' 'You haven’t answered my question though,' the frustrated NBC reporter pressed again. 'Why does an 18-year-old need an AR-15 in the state of Texas?' Not budging an inch, Gonzales replied: 'This is how the legislative process works, Congress determines the laws. Right now we have a Congress that won’t talk to one another. There’s so much rhetoric and hate.'"

Gonzales, who was first elected to Congress in 2020, voted against two recent pieces of legislation aimed at improving background checks for firearm purchases. Those bills passed the House but are stuck in the Senate.

Under federal law, handguns can only be sold to individuals over 21. The age to purchase long guns, though, is 18 — which includes AR-style semiautomatic rifles. Some states have passed their own laws raising the age to purchase these weapons, although a pair of Trump-appointed federal appeals judges recently ruled against California's law doing so.

This debate comes as the National Rifle Association is set to hold a convention in Houston, which several prominent Texas Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Greg Abbott are scheduled to speak at — although Abbott has evaded questions about whether he still plans to attend following the Uvalde school shooting.

Watch the exchange below:

Tony Gonzales refuses to answer why it's legal for 18-year-olds to buy assault weapons in Texas www.youtube.com