Texas governor unveils plan to reduce gun violence in schools
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) unveiled his administration’s proposal to protect schools in the face of recent mass shootings on Wednesday.
The plan calls, in part, for funding firearms training programs for school officials, including teachers.
“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” Abbott said in a statement. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school. This plan will make our schools safer and our communities safer.”
Abbott’s proposal also calls for a zero-tolerance policy for students who commit assault and an expansion of the list of offenses for which a student can be expelled or placed in disciplinary programs.
The governor’s plan includes a quote attributed to “a Santa Fe senior” in favor of arming teachers. A mass shooting at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, left 10 dead earlier this month. “Arming teachers and not knowing who is armed, that is what we need,” the quote reads.
“When an active shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds,” Abbott said at an event discussing the proposal, according to the New York Daily News. “Trained security personnel can make all the difference.”
The plan provides additional funding for the school marshal program, which includes 80 hours of training for school employees who volunteer and obtain a license to carry a weapon.
Abbott’s plan contains 40 proposals in total surrounding school safety and mass shootings, though only one provision relates to gun control: the plan calls for the state to “study” keeping guns out of the hands of individuals deemed mentally unfit to be armed, so long as a legal process is followed to ensure their Second Amendment rights are upheld.
Any changes to a person’s legal ability to purchase a firearm must also now be reported to police within 48 hours, under the plan.
The governor’s recommendations will require $110 million in funding. About $70 million is already available or will soon be, and Abbott will ask the legislature for the rest.
The announcement comes after three days of roundtable discussions led by Abbott last week.
-Updated 7:30 p.m.