Arming teachers, dispatching more security guards to campuses and seizing firearms from the mentally ill were among the gun proposals Texas governor Greg Abbott released in response to a school shooting.
After a gunman shot and killed ten people at a high school in Santa Fe, the Republican governor vowed swift action to bolster school safety and prevent future massacres.
“When an active shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds”, Mr Abbott said. “Trained security personnel can make all the difference”.
The proposals unveiled by Mr Abbott echo the set of laws Republican-controlled Florida enacted earlier this year after a shooting in Parkland left 17 dead.
Their overarching focus was on fortifying school security rather than on new gun restrictions, reflecting Texas’s conservative political bent and deeply entrenched gun culture.
Embracing a controversial idea that has drawn support from Donald Trump and the National Rifle association, the plan calls for training more teachers to participate in a “school marshal” programme that allows them to carry guns on campus. Mr Abbott said students and parents repeatedly expressed support for the idea during a series of roundtables after the shooting.
“As one Santa Fe student said at one of the roundtables, and I quote: ‘Arming teachers, and not knowing who is armed, that is what we need’”, Mr Abbot said.
The governor’s proposal advocated boosting the presence of law enforcement personnel on campuses and recruiting more former police officers and military veterans to serve as school safety officers. It sought to mandate more work around existing school safety initiatives and to expand tools like behavioural assessment programmes that can identify problem students and “fusiuon centres” allowing law enforcement to monitor social media.
Two of the report’s proposals concerned the right to possess firearms.
It advocated expanding a 48-hour reporting period for legal actions, like protective orders, that affect gun ownership rights. It also encouraged legislators to consider allowing law enforcement, family members and teachers to petition to strip guns from people who propose a threat – an idea adopted by Florida and other states.