Texas Governor Calls for Legislators to Examine School Safety, Mental Health, in Wake of Mass Shooting

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
June 1, 2022US News
Texas Governor Calls for Legislators to Examine School Safety, Mental Health, in Wake of Mass Shooting
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Uvalde High School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The governor of Texas on June 1 called for legislators to convene to examine possible changes in the law following the elementary school shooting that left 21 dead, in addition to the shooter.

Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, asked Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan to each convene a special legislative committee.

“I request that these committees review what steps previous legislatures have enacted, what resources the State has made available to local school districts, and make recommendations to the Legislature and the Executive Branch so that meaningful action can be made on, among other things, the following topics to prevent future school shootings: school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety,” Abbott wrote in a letter to Patrick and Phelan, who are also Republicans.

Abbott asked that the process begin “immediately” following the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

“We as a State must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence. As leaders, we must come together at this time to provide solutions to protect all Texans,” he said.

The offices of Patrick and Phelan did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Abbott said during a recent briefing that he expected new laws to be passed, including legislation improving school safety and addressing the “array of healthcare issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.” He has indicated he is not supportive of bills that would tighten access to guns.

Abbott signed a bill in 2021 that let people carry guns without licenses.

Texas Democrats want to enact a number of measures, including ones that raise the age to buy guns from 18 to 21, expand background checks, and impose a so-called red flag law that would enable judges to strip certain people of their ability to possess firearms.

But Abbott is resisting pressure from Democrats to call a larger special legislative session to consider the proposals.

Under Texas law, the governor is the only official who can call a special session. If he does not, the next session does not begin until Jan. 10, 2023.

“Anyone can call for a committee. Only a governor can call a special session. Do your job,” said Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat challenging Abbott in the upcoming election.

Ovidia Molina, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, said Abbott’s request was “very weak.”

“Guns kill people, including school children and educators, and there are too many guns out there in the possession of dangerous people,” Molina said. “It doesn’t take more committees to figure that out.”

Phelan said after the shooting that the legislature would have “a long, very robust discussion about mental health,” calling the situation “another reiteration of a mental health crisis we have in this state.”

From The Epoch Times

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