Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called for a special committee of the state legislature in the wake of theat a school in Uvalde, Texas.
Abbott tweeted a letter he sent to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan asking them to call for a special committee that will "review what steps previous legislatures have enacted, what resources the State has made available to local school districts, and make recommendations to the Legislature and Executive Branch so that meaningful action can be made."
Abbott said he wants the committee to study what action can be made to prevent future school shootings, specifically by focusing on "school safety, mental health, social media, police training and firearm safety."
The move was immediately criticized by Abbott's Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep., who said the governor should call for a full session of the legislature.
"Anyone can call for a committee," O'Rourke tweeted. "Only a governor can call a special session. Do your job."
O'Rourke unveiled a plan for school safety at a forum in Dallas on Wednesday night, calling for stricter gun laws, including universal background checks, red flag laws and safe storage laws,. He also called for banning AK-47s and AR-15s, the type of weapon used in the shooting.
"I don't think we should have AR-15s and AK-47s in our lives," O'Rourke said. "Leave that on the battlefield. That's where it belongs."
At a news conference afterwards, O'Rourke said he knows removing those weapons will be harder to achieve, but worth doing. He said he thought "we can probably get to a consensus" that would stop the sales of those weapons, and it could include voluntary buybacks.
"I think we're going to have to be creative on how we get these out of the streets and civilian ownership," O'Rourke said.
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 between when the gunman entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him. The that it will be conducting a review of the law enforcement response.
On Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesmanthe 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 was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision," McCraw told reporters.
Abbott, meanwhile," by officials in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. 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 Democratsoutside 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 come out of this devastating crime? The answer is absolutely yes," Abbott said Friday. "There will be laws in multiple different subject area, but I do fully expect to have every law that we passed in the aftermath of the Santa Fe shooting to be completely revisited."
But he essentially ruled out any gun control laws, saying Friday, "my hope is laws are passed, that I will sign, addressing health care in this state."
Federal lawmakers, including Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas,a bipartisan path forward on gun safety legislation. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, of Connecticut, as they hammer out details of revised that they both hope can win sufficient GOP support to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
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