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Texas Governor Introduces School Gun-Safety Plan

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas, May 4, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Texas governor Greg Abbott on Wednesday introduced a plan to prevent more gun violence from hitting his state’s schools.

The Republican governor’s “School and Firearm Safety Action Plan” outlines 40 strategies to prevent shootings, including identifying students with mental-health issues, providing schools with active-shooter training, beefing up school-security staffs, and adding more police officers to schools.

“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” Abbott said as he announced the plan at the Dallas School District headquarters. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school.

School discipline should be tightened for students who cause trouble, and schools should monitor social media to keep an eye on potential threats, the plan recommends.

The governor is also asking the state legislature to enact a “red flag” law, which would allow a threatening person to be stripped of his firearms through a legal process before he could use them against innocent people.

The $110 million plan, a result of days of discussions between Abbott, victims, parents, teachers, law-enforcement officers, legislators, and others, already has $70 million in funds available, and the governor’s office plans to ask lawmakers to make up the gap.

A young gunman shot up Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas less than two weeks ago, killing ten people. In November, another shooter killed 26 at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, during the Sunday morning service.

Abbott said he may call a special session for state legislators to vote on some of his safety proposals if there seems to be enough support.

“When an active-shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds,” he said. “Trained security personnel can make all the difference.”

Gun-control activists were not satisfied with Abbott’s proposals and demanded that he push lawmakers to regulate firearms more strictly, saying the problem is that guns are simply too easy to get.

The answer to gun violence “isn’t some deep-seated secret,” said the Brady Campaign to Reduce Gun Violence. “It’s the fact that it’s frighteningly easy for dangerous people to get access to a gun, and this proposal does little to stop that.”

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