JJ Watt visits Texas shooting survivors at hospital

Ebony Scott
May 24, 2018

About 20 people, including those who support arming teachers, attended the first of three days of meetings in the state capital, Austin, following the fourth-deadliest USA school shooting this year at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, on Friday.

Before the shooting at Santa Fe High School, Texas Democrats had filed about 15 bills related to gun violence, nearly all of which died when the legislative session ended past year. "I think people are the problem", 16-year-old student Alex Carvey told NBC News.

Gun ownership can be a point of pride for many in the Lone Star State, and even some Santa Fe High School students have spoken out against linking the shooting to the need for more gun control.

At the first meeting on Tuesday, participants proposed expanding school safety training programs, bolstering threat assessment systems and expanding a pilot program created to screen for students, who might be a threat to themselves or others.

"The reality is that we all want guns out of the hands of people who want to murder our children".

"We are dying on your watch".

None of the scenarios in current law would have snagged the suspect in Santa Fe. The letter was first published as an ad in the Houston Chronicle.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis 17 has been charged with capital murder following the shooting at Santa Fe High School
Dimitrios Pagourtzis 17 has been charged with capital murder following the shooting at Santa Fe High School

"There's not just the one thing you can do that will stop this and be a cure-all", Bessent said.

He called for a series of high-level policy meetings after a high school near Houston became the latest to have a mass shooting. A Texas Gun Sense official has said the group will press for tougher background checks for gun sales, and "red flag" laws that keep guns away from people deemed a danger to themselves or others.

The governor has long championed expanding gun rights in Texas, signing bills in recent years that reduced the cost and training to get a handgun license, and allowing the state's 1.2 million license holders to openly carry their weapons in public.

Some gun rights proponents in Texas have embraced the idea of arming teachers, a strategy advocated by the National Rifle Association and U.S. President Donald Trump. Over the next two days, gun regulation, mental health issues and victims' needs are also on the agenda.

On Monday, many heeded Abbott's statewide call for Texans to take part in a moment of silence to honor the victims of Santa Fe. Weapons seized could be returned to that person's family.

None of those scenarios would have snagged the suspect in Santa Fe. In the attack on the church in Sutherland Springs, the Air Force failed to report a past criminal record that would have prevented the gunman from buying an assault-style rifle.

Police said Pagourtzis confessed to Friday's killings after being taken into custody, but they have offered no motive yet for the massacre. "There has got to be due process".

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