Gov. Abbott releases Texas Safety Action outlining plans to mitigate gun violence

Victoria May

In wake of the two recent mass shootings in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Safety Commission released the Texas Safety Action report, which emphasizes the role of the community in preventing gun violence.

The report released Thursday expands on the executive orders mandated in previous weeks to create a more defined public safety protocol for the prevention of mass shootings. According to a press release, the report also includes recommendations for the Texas Legislature and state agencies to consider to make Texas communities safer while also respecting the Constitution.

“We must act with resolve in response to the despicable acts of violence we have witnessed in Texas,” Abbott said in the press release. “Solving the problems that have led to these horrific events will take more than governmental action. It will require parents, families, churches, law enforcement, community groups, schools and others working together to fortify the social fabric of our society. Together, we will transcend this test and forge an even better future for our state.”

Abbott also issued eight executive orders, which allow more armed marshals on school grounds and prevent school districts from prohibiting licensed gun owners from storing guns and ammunition in school parking lots.

The executive actions Abbott implemented Thursday include strengthening domestic violence high-risk teams across the state, expanding training offered through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program and educating health professionals about the disclosure of confidential information to law enforcement. 

“As much as I recognize having these conversations, especially at this governmental level, are important, I feel like there’s more that we could be doing,” said chemical engineering sophomore Caroline Garcia. “It’s great that Gov. Abbott is enacting necessary change for the good of the state, but even with the measures that he’s instituted, I feel like we’re still a long way from feeling like mass gun violence is not a big fear.”

At the beginning of the month, nearly all of the Texas House Democrats signed a letter asking for a special legislative session to discuss gun violence policy. In the letter, the Democrats said the action they recommend could save lives.

“… it is not only mass shootings we must respond to ­— more than 3,000 people lose their lives to gun violence in Texas each year,” the Texas House Democrats said in the letter. “That horrifying statistic alone should prompt us to take action.”

The Texas Safety Commission, tasked with helping Abbott draft the report, consisted of over 50 experts throughout the state, including survivors of mass shootings, faith leaders, business representatives and other
stakeholders. The commission identified any shortcomings in Texas’ current systems and looked into ways to prevent mass shootings from taking place. 

“Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings,” Abbott said. “One of those objectives is to marshal law enforcement resources to stop violent criminals before they commit mass murders, but more must be done. I will continue to work expeditiously with the legislature on laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals while safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans.”