Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Introduces New ‘School and Firearm Safety Action Plan’

Gov. Greg Abbott has released his “Action Plan” in response to the Santa Fe massacre. (Photo: Office of the Governor Greg Abbott Facebook)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has introduced a 44-page plan designed to keep schools safer through increased law enforcement, more armed school personnel, better threat assessment, and better mental health interventions.

“This plan is a starting point, not an ending place,” said Governor Abbott. “It provides strategies that can be used before the next school year begins to keep our students safe when they return to school. This plan will make our schools safer and our communities safer.”

The “School Firearm Safety Action Plan” is the result of a series of roundtable discussions hosted by the governor in the wake of the massacre in Santa Fe, Texas, earlier this month that left 10 people dead.

The recommendations focus primarily on school security, but Abbott also proposes five firearm-related measures. These include proposals that shore up criminal reporting that might affect NICS background checks and one that requires the mandatory reporting of lost firearms.

The plan also addresses Texas’ Safe Firearm Storage Law, which has come under scrutiny in recent weeks. The law only allows parents to be prosecuted for unsafe storage if their child is under 17 years of age, which saved the father of the Santa Fe murderer from liability.

Abbott wants to “strengthen” the law by raising the age to 18, increasing the penalty level to a 3rd-degree felony when access results in death or serious bodily injury, and removing the “readily dischargeable” statutory definition. Under Abbott’s plan, in other words, a parent would be liable even if a child gained access to an empty firearm.

SEE ALSO: When It Comes to Safe Storage Only the Gun Industry Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

Finally, the plan encourages the state legislature to “consider the merits” of allowing courts to issue “red flag” or “extreme risk” protective orders. These orders allow law enforcement, a family member, school employee, or a district attorney to file a petition seeking the removal of firearms from a person suspected to be dangerous to himself or to others.

The governor insists that such a law must provide due process by providing the person both a notice and a hearing. These protective orders would also be for a limited duration, provide for mental health treatment, and have a clear path to the full restoration of rights and return of firearms when the person is no longer a danger.

On the school security side, the governor proposed a wide variety of measures, including an increased law enforcement presence, behavior threat assessment programs, more secure school infrastructure, and active shooter and emergency response training.

Abbott also includes a lengthy section outlining how the school marshal program might be expanded. This program allows school districts to identify and train personnel, including teachers, to respond to active shooter situations with firearms.

Currently, school marshals who have direct contact with students are required to store their firearms in a safe while on campus, making the weapon hard to access and use in the event of a crisis. Abbott’s proposal would rescind this requirement, allowing marshals to keep their firearms on their person.

The plan would also allow twice as many marshals to be appointed, fund training, and revamp the training to focus more on firearms use.

“Arming teachers, and not knowing who is armed, that is what we need,” said a Santa Fe senior who participated in the governor’s roundtable discussion. Her sentiment, according to Abbott’s plan, was shared by many students and parents.

The governor says he has identified nearly $110 million in total funding, including $70 million that is already or will soon be available. Additionally, Abbott has identified a specific need for $30 million that he will work with the legislature to fund next session.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Jim Dedmon June 7, 2018, 11:00 pm

    Good evening Mr. Abbott
    I saw your TV spot a few weeks ago on what we need to do to end the killing of our children. I am a grandfather now and
    want to know my granddaughter will be save. I don’t understand why everyone is obsessed with having more people, marshals or teachers to stop the shooter after he is inside the building and armed? It would be ok if someone could stop or shoot the gunman really quick after he shot the first child! But I do not want my grandchild to be the first victim! Would you want your grandchild to be the first victim? Why not stop the gunman when he sets off the a metal detector and a guard stops him dead in his tracks! I just do not think having more guns and marshals in the school is good enough after the shooter is inside the building!
    Thank You for listening

  • Michael June 3, 2018, 10:26 pm

    Normally I perceive Abbott as a freakin’ moron but this time he’s moving in the right direction. I’m leery of arming teachers but I’m all for more school marshals. I like tightening up the access laws and consequences. But as the posters before me without universal mandatory background checks this is all just half measures. Kudos Gov. Abbott.

  • John June 2, 2018, 9:13 am

    Gun free zones are just laws to be broken, isn’t there a law against murder? It is being broken, right? Just keep making laws that add to the list of what is already being broken, net result is nothing.
    Seems simple enough to check the people in at the schools like they were getting on an airplane. Build protection walls around outdoor play areas and any other exposed areas.

  • RON June 1, 2018, 9:12 pm

    Idiots in Colorado have gun free zones. A perp will ignore this. Must have IQ’s of 80 or less to think this will stop someone intent to do harm.

  • cisco kid June 1, 2018, 3:32 pm

    The new proposals are a step in the right direction but without “universal background checks” and unregulated private sales the mentally ill and the criminals will still be able to buy guns by circumventing State and Federal Laws. And without mandatory safe storage for all firearms criminals will still be able to walk in and scoop up peoples gun collections and then sell them on the private market without background checks. Most people who buy stolen guns are not criminals but after passing through many hands and without any background checks many do indeed end up in the wrong hands proving beyond any doubt that the rest of the civilized world has been long ahead of us in gun control laws and reducing crimes with guns.

    • KimberproSS June 7, 2018, 10:46 am

      Cisco, sounds like you are coming to a lot of conclusions based on the MSM bias. You imply a lot of knowledge of the stolen gun market but I am not sure your points are well founded in fact but more on opinion. Therefore proving without a doubt that the rest of the civilized world is better off is opinion as well. The issue is the mentally ill. The safety solution is hardened targets and security. All the rest is trying to cure a disease by treating a symptom. The rest of the “Civilized World” doesn’t have a Bill of Rights ensure our safety and protection with firearms. Regardless of the laws, the deranged sicko will find his weapon and do his evil. The only way to stop it is with security to keep them out of the sensitive areas and a good guy with a gun.

  • Steve June 1, 2018, 2:23 pm

    Train and arm every teacher willing. Keep the training going.
    Give a free gun safe to every household with a gun.
    Give someone/anyone the right to say who’s a threat. Punish the law abusers, not abiders.

  • Brian Stephen June 1, 2018, 1:20 pm

    Most if not all school shootings have been committed by a male student, a boy who the school was very familiar with and never expected to do these horrendous acts. That’s 100% students committing these acts.

    With all due respect, the only way that the student shooter is going to be stopped is to detect the actual weapon that the student has hidden in his backpack or under a trench coat before the student enters the school building. This is really plain and simple to me and many many other parents and already works in school systems. There are many commonsense parents who are pushing to have the male student shooter stopped before he enters a school building.

    Metal detectors if installed in numbers will definitely work and whatever “slow down” risk the students have in entering the building can be offset by one or two armed guards outside.

    Again all exit doors can be manned and controlled by retired PD and Vets of which there are plenty who would gladly take this job in a heartbeat. Money should be no object when it comes the safety of our children.

    Time is of the essence and every minute that is wasted puts school buildings at risk.

  • Bud June 1, 2018, 10:49 am

    I appreciate the effort to make it more difficult for deranged idiots to kill. But in the long run, if someone is committed to mayhem, they will find a way to get weapons and kill. And it doesn’t always mean that guns will be those weapons. Only armed trained personnel can stop these idiots in time to save lives.

  • Ivo Roberts June 1, 2018, 9:28 am

    Good for Texas. Harden the target location but make those who charge someone with being a loon be responsible to prove their claim, not put the burden of proof on the gun owner. Also insert into the law that if it is determined that the charges were false and vindictive then charge and fine that person filing a false charge.

  • Scott June 1, 2018, 9:01 am

    In my state kids can hunt on their own at 15. What is the age in Texas? If it is under 18 how would that be handled?

    • deanbob June 1, 2018, 9:24 am

      What is the minimum age for a hunting license in Texas?
      Under 9 years of age: You must be accompanied. Accompanied means: By a person (resident or non-resident) who is at least 17, who is licensed to hunt in Texas, who has passed hunter education or is exempt (born before Sept. 2, 1971), and you must be within normal voice control.

  • chris June 1, 2018, 9:01 am

    Well, finally someone who is trying to take a non-politically correct approach to the school shooting problem. Instead of blaming the “gun” he is addressing the person(s) involved, including and holding irresponsible gun owners accountable to secure their weapons. Also, at least he is looking at due judicial process for those that may be mentally ill, not just a blanket hear-say accusation by anyone. Like he said it’s a start, and I trust he will include some high tech solutions to prevent weapons from making on campus in the first place and other measures to harden the schools as well. I do not like any more government regulations with regards to our 2nd Amendment Rights either, but with the current direction the Leftist are heading and using these “random” shootings as an excuse to attack our rights, at least there are some that are taking some positive steps to protect our children.

    • Keith June 1, 2018, 9:33 am

      So if someone steals my car and drives over twenty kids at a school should I also be held criminally liable? Safe storage gun laws lead to “lock it up so it in unaccessible.” This means your firearm is locked up so no one can access it in an emergency when it is needed. Australia also has such gun laws on their books.

  • joefoam June 1, 2018, 8:51 am

    I agree with the security increases and arming of educators, I disagree with the ‘red flag’ proposals. Any loony ex, a kid or his pals or someone with a vendetta will get your guns confiscated. That portion is ripe for abuse.

    • deanbob June 1, 2018, 9:27 am

      Which is why he advocates including provisions for the accused to challenge his/her accuser.

    • Jay June 1, 2018, 9:33 am

      As laws made by government, are by design able to be abused by government!

  • John E Townsend June 1, 2018, 8:05 am

    While I can see the potential for abuse with the red flag issue. At least there will be a vehicle to help identify mentally ill individuals who may be a danger to others. Too often family members and friends shy away from reporting because of the stigma associated with it. It’s not perfect but it is a start. Arming teachers and other personnel is a good move too. Using a firearm to end a life can be devastating, especially to a good guy/gal with a gun, however I think there are a lot of teachers who will step up to the plate if given no other choice to protect their students. As a gun owner and father of two teachers I like this.

  • Mark June 1, 2018, 7:59 am

    I agree with most of Abbott’s changes except the with removing the “readily dischargeable” statutory definition.

  • Benny Teague June 1, 2018, 7:39 am

    Everybody already knows that a person who intends to kill many will FIRST look to a place where they will meet no resistance.
    Gun Free Zones are always potential Killing Zones.
    Logic says to me, where “Trained” Law Abiding Citizens are carrying concealed weapons are places where a killer can be made to be neutralized quickly. Obviously my position is everyone who carries a weapon should be trained on how to properly defend themselves. Everyone who is tasked to protect our Children should have special training for acts of aggression.
    New laws handcuffing Law Abiding Citizens will only assist criminals.

  • D Johnson June 1, 2018, 7:11 am

    Raising the age to under 18 is agreeable. I don’t agree with removing the “readily dischargeable” statutory definition. I assume the law currently covers “kids” getting parent’s guns and killing or hurting someone without intention, which IMHO is agreeable. I don’t see taking a 16 year old’s parents’ guns away because he intentionally stole the gun, loaded it, and carried out a crime.

  • Jay June 1, 2018, 6:46 am

    People just don’t get it! More government regulations on firearms? Bit by bit they make laws to control your use of them, all under the guise that it’s for safety! Ya, right, it’s coming! It’s all about how people need to be held personally responsible for their own actions, not regulate/control more!!

    • Keith June 1, 2018, 12:29 pm

      It’s disgusting that more gun restrictions are being proposed by the Governor in Texas. What the heck Texas! Get your crap together. The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Support the peoples’ rights not stupid feel good tyranny laws.

  • Nick M June 1, 2018, 5:34 am

    Schools are already gun free zones. Make sure that is mentioned every single time.

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