Texas House Passes School Security Bill Requiring Armed Officers, Democratic Lawmaker Criticizes Lack of Gun Safety Measures

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The Texas House of Representatives has passed a new school security bill that would require all schools in the state to have armed security, among other measures. However, Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, has criticized the bill for not going far enough in terms of gun safety legislation.

At a news conference in Austin on Tuesday, Gutierrez said that Republican lawmakers are not doing enough to help pass “meaningful gun safety legislation” during the current session. He suggested eliminating AR-15s for 18- to 20-year-olds, implementing universal background checks, and introducing extreme risk protective orders.

Gutierrez made these comments on the same day that House Bill 3 passed its third and final reading with a vote of 119 to 25. The bill’s author, Republican State Representative Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, argued that the focus of HB3 is on beefing up school safety, including hiring at least one armed security officer at every campus and offering incentives for school employees to get certified to carry a weapon.

However, Gutierrez is skeptical about the idea of arming teachers, saying, “I’m just not happy with the volunteer, weekend warrior cop. No offense.” He pointed to the Robb Elementary shooting, where dozens of armed law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes before taking out the gunman, resulting in 19 children and two teachers losing their lives.

Burrows defended his bill, which also includes adding silent panic buttons in every classroom, as a “bucket of solutions,” and said that he had tried to move gun safety bills forward with various tactics. A similar school safety bill had passed the Senate the previous week, and the next step is for the two bills to be hashed out in committee.

It remains unclear whether lawmakers will heed the families of Uvalde, who are pushing for the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic guns to be raised from 18 to 21. The bill faces stiff opposition from Republicans. Gutierrez is not expected to make any announcements about his race until after the current legislative session.

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