Earlier this week, Governor Greg Abbott announced a detailed plan to protect students and educators in Texas schools and to promote firearm safety without infringing on the rights of the U.S. Constitution.
In addition to the provisions listed in the 44-page plan, Rep. John Wray will introduce legislation providing for uniform prosecution of anyone committing an act of violence with a firearm on a school campus. Outgoing Texas House Speaker Joe Straus also announced additional interim charges, two of which will come before Wray and the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee.
After the announcements, Wray said the prevention of the repeated tragedies and increased school safety is "one of the most pressing issues" across the state.
“While we are all working to make immediate changes, we must also make school safety a priority during the next legislative session. I am fully committed to providing a safe educational environment for Texas students and educators that provides peace of mind for their parents and loved ones," Wray stated. "I am thankful of the efforts of our local leaders in the wake of recent events and proud to work with the Governor in crafting legislation that would see perpetrators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The plan announced by Abbott offers immediate funding to those in the Santa Fe community who suffered a devastating loss on May 18. It outlines long-term procedures to enhance school safety with the help of law enforcement and mental health professionals.
Together these professionals have the ability to increase the success of existing programs, like the School Marshal Program, which strengthens campus security by including armed personnel. Additionally, the plan includes funding measures to increase the safety of school buildings.
“Across the country, citizens and their representatives are united in stopping school shootings. As a parent with two children in public school, I worry about their safety and the safety of their classmates and teachers," Wray added. "Local school districts are already making proactive changes and the legislative effort underway offers a comprehensive action plan granting immediate funding opportunities for counseling and behavioral health. Our long-term effort targets three main challenges: making schools safer, preventing threats in advance, and enhancing firearm safety.”
In a press release, Strauss said, "The Texas House will be prepared to act promptly and decisively to improve school safety."
Details of the School and Firearm Safety Action Plan can be found at https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/School_Safety_Action_Plan_05302018.pdf. The recently announced Texas House Interim Charges can be read at http://www.house.texas.gov/news/press-releases/?id=6533.