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Texas Gov. Introduces “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan”

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Texas Gov. recently released his “Action Plan” in response to the Santa Fe incident. READ MORE

Gov. Abbott

SOURCE: texas.gov.com, AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott introduced a 44-page plan intended to keep schools safer. The focus is on increased law enforcement presence, more armed school personnel, better threat assessment, and better mental health interventions.

“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” said Governor Abbott. “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 “School Firearm Safety Action Plan” resulted from a series of roundtable discussions hosted by the governor following the Sante Fe TX shooting on May 19.

The primary focus for the recommendations are on school security, but also suggests 5 firearm-specific measures, including fortifying criminal reporting that might influence NICS background check.

The plan also addresses Texas’ Safe Firearm Storage Law, which has recently come under scrutiny. Currently, the law only allows prosecution of parents for what’s deemed unsafe storage if their child is under 17 years of age. This absolved the father of the Santa Fe shooter from liability.

Abbott seeks to raise the age to 18, and increasing the penalty level to a 3rd-degree felony when access results in death or serious bodily injury, plus seeks to remove the “readily dischargeable” statutory definition.

The plan also encourages the state legislature to “consider the merits” of allowing courts to issue “red flag” or “extreme risk” protective orders. This would allow law enforcement, a district attorney, a school employee, or a family member to file a petition seeking the removal of firearms from a person suspected to be dangerous to himself or to others. Governor Abbott insists that such a law must follow due process by providing the person both a notice and a hearing, and that any such protective order would be for a limited duration of time, provide for mental health treatment, and offer a clear path to the full restoration of rights and return of firearms when the person is no longer deemed to be a danger.

Regarding proposed school measures: the plan outlines several measures which include increasing law enforcement presence, implementing behavior threat assessment programs, addressing the means to provide more secure school infrastructure, and active shooter and emergency response training.

Abbott’s “Action Plan” includes a section outlining how the school marshal program might be expanded, and also provide training that focuses more on firearms use. This program allows school districts to identify and train personnel, including teachers, to respond to active shooter situations with firearms. Under current law, school marshals who have direct contact with students are required to store their firearm while on campus, making the weapon hard to access and use in the event of a crisis. The proposal seeks to change this and allow marshals to keep their firearms on their person.

Abbott says he has identified nearly $110 million in total funding, including $70 million that is already or will soon be available.

READ Gov. Abbott’s proposal HERE