Texas Governor Greg Abbott called Wednesday for a special committee in the Texas legislature to address the aftermath of the massacre at Uvalde High School, Texas.
Abbott sent a letter to the Lt. Governor via Twitter. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Pahelan asked for a special committee to "review the steps that have been taken by previous legislatures, the resources that the State has made available for local school districts and make recommendations to both the Legislature and the Executive Branch to take meaningful action."
Abbott stated that he would like the committee to examine what can be done to prevent future school shootings. This includes focusing on "school safety", "school mental health", police training, and firearm safety.
Abbott's Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Beto, immediately criticised the move, saying that the governor should call for full session of Congress.
O'Rourke tweeted, "Anyone can request a committee." A special session can only be called by a governor. Do your job.
O'Rourke presented a plan to improve school safety at a forum held in Dallas on Wednesday night. He also called for stricter gun laws including red flag laws and safe storage laws. CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported. O'Rourke also called for the banning of AK-47s as well as AR-15s, which were used in the shooting.
O'Rourke stated that he doesn't believe we should own AR-15s or AK-47s. It should be left on the battlefield. It belongs there.
O'Rourke stated that he understands that removing these weapons is difficult but worthwhile at a press conference. O'Rourke stated that he believed "we could probably reach a consensus" to stop the sale of these weapons. This could also include voluntary buybacks.
O'Rourke stated, "I think it's going to be necessary to be creative on the way we get these out from the streets and civilian ownership."
Steven McCraw, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, stated that on Friday the commander at the site "was convinced that there was no threat to the children" and that the subject had been barricaded. He also said that time was available for the officers to organize to enter the classroom. McCraw stated that approximately 20 officers were observed standing outside the classrooms for 45 minutes.
McCraw said, "Ofcourse it wasn't the right decision." McCraw stated to reporters that it was the wrong decision.
Abbott said that he was "misled by" officials in the immediate aftermath. Abbott had initially praised law enforcement's "amazing courage", for running toward gunfire with the sole purpose of trying to save life.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Democrats called for tighter gun laws. O'Rourke joined a host of prominent Democrats at a protest held outside the NRA convention in Houston, just days after the shooting to demand stricter gun laws.
All 13 Texas Senate Democrats signed Saturday's letter requesting that the state legislature pass a law increasing the minimum age for purchasing a firearm to 18 from 21.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the gunman purchased the semi-automatic rifles he used in the shooting legally just weeks before the shooting. This was shortly after turning 18. Texas legislators relaxed gun laws during the legislative session of 2021.
Abbott answered Friday's question about calling a special session of the legislature. He said that "all options" were on the table and that he believes ultimately that laws will be passed.
"Does this crime constitute a criminal offense? Abbott stated Friday that the answer was "absolutely yes". "There will be laws in many different areas, but I fully expect every law we passed after the Santa Fe shooting to get completely rewritten."
He said that he had ruled out gun control laws and stated Friday, "my hope for laws to be passed, I will sign, which address health care in this State."
Federal lawmakers, including Republican Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, met to discuss a bipartisan path forward in gun safety legislation. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said Tuesday that they have made progress in hammering out details for revised "red flag," legislation that they hope will win enough GOP support to defeat a filibuster at the Senate.