Texas governor calls special legislative committee to address Uvalde shooting

Texas governor calls special legislative committee to address Uvalde shooting thumbnail

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called for a special committee of the state legislature in the wake of the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

Abbott tweeted a letter he sent to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Pelan asked for a special committee to “review what previous legislatures have taken, what resources the State made available to local schools districts, and make recommendations towards the Legislature and Executive Branch to take meaningful action.”

Abbott stated that he wants the committee study how to prevent future school shootings. This includes focusing on “school safety and mental health,” as well as firearm safety. “

The move was immediately criticized by Abbott’s Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who said the governor should call for a full session of the legislature. O’Rourke will present his plan for school safety during a forum in Dallas on Wednesday evening.

“Anyone may call for a committee,” O’Rourke tweeted . “Only the governor can call a special session. Do your job. “

Mass Shooting At Elementary School In Uvalde, Texas Leaves At Least 21 Dead
Governor Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting as he sits with Christina Mitchell Busbee, 38th Judicial District Attorney and Mayor Don McLaughlin at Uvalde High School on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.

Michael M Santiago/GettyImages/Getty Images

Nineteen children and two adults were killed on May 24 at Robb Elementary School by a gunman who had barricaded himself in the school. In the days following the shooting, local and state authorities have provided shifting and often conflicting accounts of the 90 minutes between when the gunman entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him. The Justice Department said Sunday that it will be conducting a review of the law enforcement response.

On Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Steven McCraw said the on-site commander “was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize” to get into the classroom.” McCraw said that about 20 officers were standing in the hallway outside the classrooms for roughly 45 minutes.

” Of course, it wasn’t the right decision. McCraw said that it was the wrong decision.

Abbott, meanwhile, said Friday that he had been “misled” by officials in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. Abbott initially had praised the “amazing courage” of law enforcement, for “running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives.”

Democrats have called for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting. O’Rourke and a number of other prominent Democrats spoke Friday at a protest outside the NRA convention, which was held in Houston just days after the shooting, to call for stricter gun laws.

All 13 Texas Senate Democrats signed a letter Saturday calling on the state legislature to put forward a law to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 years old.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the gunman legally purchased the two semi-automatic rifles used in the shooting just a few weeks earlier prior to shooting, shortly after he turned 18. During the legislative session in 2021, Texas lawmakers loosened gun laws.

When asked Friday if he would call a special legislative session, Abbott said “all options are on the table” and he said he believed ultimately that laws would be passed.

” Do we expect laws to emerge from this terrible crime? Abbott stated Friday that the answer is yes. “There will be laws in many different areas, but I fully expect every law we passed in the aftermath to the Santa Fe shooting to get reexamined.” But he basically said that any gun control laws were out of his reach, and that if laws are passed, he would sign them. “

Federal lawmakers, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, have been meeting to discuss a bipartisan path forward on gun safety legislation. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, said Tuesday that they are making progress as they hammer out details of revised “red flag” legislation that they both hope can win sufficient GOP support to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

Read More