Gov. Abbott Convenes First Roundtable On School Safety After Santa Fe Shooting

25 May, 2018, 10:58 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Dimitrios Pagourtzis 17 is accused of fatally shooting 10 people at his Texas high school on May 18

"The only thing we want to hear about is: what are your ideas", the governor told the gathering in opening remarks before journalists were ushered out.

Greg Abbott has convened the first of three roundtable meetings to address school violence and safety.

Incidents related to gun violence have spiked in the U.S. in the recent past, the latest one being a 17-year-old shooter killing 10 people, including a teacher and a foreign exchange student from Pakistan Sabika Sheikh, at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

On Monday, 15-year-old Santa Fe student Tessa Ybarra stood at a memorial for the shooting victims.

His father says he owns guns but that the boy doesn't. Most of America's students know exactly what to do: Move to designated safe spaces, lock doors, turn off lights, silence phones, hide in closets, make the space appear empty. And, as Hodges said, the level of inaction after that shooting in particular spoke volumes about who and what American adults are willing to sacrifice for their guns.

He is being held without bond at the Galveston County Jail. Abbott said he'll meet Wednesday with gun rights and gun control advocacy groups and Thursday with victims of the attack at Santa Fe High School and the November attack on a church in Sutherland Springs. Under Texas law, offenders younger than 18 who are charged with a capital offense face a maximum penalty of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Since 2013, Texas has reduced the cost and hours of training needed to be licensed to carry a handgun, allowed "open carry" for handgun license holders, and allowed concealed handguns in college classrooms and dorms. In 2017, he bragged about his accuracy with a pistol at a shooting range. A photograph of the governor aiming a shotgun was removed.

By now you have heard Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's dubious suggestion that schools should reduce the number of entrances and exits to prevent more shootings - and that divorce, abortion and video games are to blame. Abbott so far has committed to even less. Two dozen groups were invited to attend the session, which was expected to include conversations on monitoring students' mental health. Her group will stress tougher background checks, suicide prevention, gun safety at home and so-called "red flag" laws that restrict gun access for people identified as potentially unsafe to themselves or others. Authorities say eight students and two teachers were killed in the attack, and 13 others wounded. And it has come not from the top, but from grass-roots campaigns often driven by women - the infuriated-mom equivalent of #MeToo that has joined with older organizations like The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Guns.

And it's not just Republicans.

These are the people who forced change in Vermont, persuading Gov. Phil Scott to require a criminal background check for every gun sale in the state, and who, in Florida, successfully pushed for a red-flag law and raised the minimum age to buy a gun to 21. "It means I'm against stupidity".



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