courtesy Facebook.com

As NPR reports, “Citing a need to make ‘our schools and our state a safer place,’ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott unveiled a slate of policy and legislative changes on Wednesday that range from boosting security at schools to doing more to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.”

What does that mean? Well . . .

First Abbott wants to harden schools against attack. He’d limit entry points and equip buildings with alarms that are different than standard fire alarms. That would prevent students from pouring out into hallways, becoming easy targets for a shooter who pulls a fire alarm.

He also want to expand the existing school marshal program that allows teachers and staff to carry firearms in schools.

“When an active shooter situation arises, the difference between life and death can be a matter of seconds. Trained security personnel can make all the difference.”

He’s proposing to have more police officers in schools, making the buildings part of their regular rounds (aren’t they already?) and providing a spot for cops on campus to take breaks or fill out reports. The Governor figures the more time officers spend in schools, the better.

Abbott also wants to speed up the process of reporting individuals who have been adjudicated as “mentally unfit to have a gun.” That might stop a would-be shooter from buying a firearm through an FFL. It would have done nothing, however, in the case of the Santa Fe shooter, who simply opened his father’s closet and grabbed a shotgun and a revolver.

As for identifying potential shooters before they open fire . . .

Noting that social media often contains clues of shooters’ intentions before they act, Abbott said he wants to expand a program that has been tested in West Texas, which “uses mental health screenings to identify students at risk of committing violence,” Abbott said. Called the Telemedicine Wellness, Intervention, Triage, and Referral (or TWITR) Project, the approach has been led by Texas Tech University.

He’s also going to ask the Texas legislature to consider a bill creating so-called gun violence restraining orders or a “red flag” law. That would allow relatives or others to petition a court to confiscate the guns of someone suspected to be a danger to himself or others.

The problem with such an approach is that it’s open to abuse by vindictive exes or others and the laws are frequently written in such a way as to infringe on the gun owner’s due process rights. Guns are confiscated first, and only then can the owner petition to have them returned.

Then the governor also announced a technological step:

“We want action to prevent another shooting” like Santa Fe, Abbott said.

To improve the ability to alert schools and officials to potential risks, Abbott said the state will expand crime stopper programs and make it easier for students to report possible threats — something he said could be helped by a new app called iWatchTX, which the governor said will be activated next month.

How this would improve on simply dialing 911 isn’t clear. And if you’ve read our post earlier today about false reports made by Florida students, you can see the possibility for abuse in a system like that.

74 COMMENTS

    • Because everytime a liberal mentions “guns” is is ok to talk stupid shit they would NEVER apply to any other idea or thing.

    • People these days don’t understand rights in general–they see only privileges extended to them (but preferably not those scary Others).

      They want due process gone for everyone else, not themselves.

    • Not one word of any bill has been written, yet you have already squat down, spread your butt cheeks and discharged a stool all over an idea whose execution you literally know nothing about. You’re a big help.

    • I listened to Abbott’s presentation and when he got to the gun violence restraining order part he did mention due process and time limits for weapons to be held.

      • He might well have mentioned due process and time limits, but what he said matters not at all. What matters is what is written and passed, and I would guess that the time limits will either be whatever LE desires, or open ended in some other way. The proof is in the eating of the pudding, not in the recipe. As always, watch what people DO, not what they SAY!

        • No. Waiting until after a Constitution-shredding law is passed can be too late. Example: Patriot Act.

    • That’s all my future ex- wife needs use on me. No thanks that’s too much unconstitutional power for me. These political hacks need to go.

    • Please read the actual proposal. Abbot specifically states, in literally every sentence, that firearms can be removed only AFTER due process is ensured. This is legal, constitutional, and right.
      The language is:
      •Encourage the Texas Senate and House leaders to issue an interim charge to consider the merits of adopting a red flag law allowing law enforcement, a family member, school employee, or a district attorney to file a petition seeking the removal of firearms from a potentially dangerous person only after legal due process is provided.

  1. “….speed up the process of reporting individuals who have been adjudicated as “mentally unfit to have a gun.”
    THIS is how we will be ‘lawfully” disarmed. Some “leader” will sign a piece of paper and you’ll be made a criminal – without committing any crime.
    It happened here, in Florida, because my governor caved in almost instantly.

    • Jeff, the only case I’ve seen in my area of Florida where a judge signed off on such an order was clearly a good call. Dude was a pure lunatic Perhaps you could point me to some questionable decisions?

    • America needs crazies control, not gun control, but gun control it will get if nothing else. Get out in front of the debate and direct the path toward the crazies. You’ll be doing something effective about the problem and, by being involved in the solution, you can help head off the constitutional problems you rightly foresee.

      Or……do nothing but stomp your feet and throw a tantrum. You will lose. Guns will suffer greater restrictions. Crazies will go unaddressed. Spree shootings will accelerate in frequency and mortality, resulting in even more gun restrictions.

      • Define crazies. The definition will end up being subjective and very broad with every year that goes by. Shall not be infringed means shall not be infringed.
        Let people be armed in more places and you cause the real crazies to rethink their plans. The world is full of folks ready to spill your blood. Always has been, always will be.

  2. Most of the Governor’s proposals are things reasonable people can have civil debate over.

    The HIGHLY objectionable part here is the Governor’s wish to throw Due Process out the window. If you don’t like Freedom, then GTFO of my country, Guv.

  3. RINO piece of shit. He can’t manage to muster enough support for constitutional carry but he can for gun control.

  4. We called this kind of thing “eye wash” in the army. Looks good (to the uninitiated) doesn’t do anything.

  5. Abbott’s proposals are in line with what gun people have recommended all along except for the red flag law. Whether that will be reasonable or abusive will depend on the details. We all know that bare fear, isn’t enough to justify self defense. You need to provide examples of bad behavior that a court will agree posed a threat to your life. I suspect that bare fear isn’t enough to get a protection order against someone. Neither should it be enough to trigger confiscation of a person’s guns.

    • When have the authorities ever exercised good judgement and restraint in the application of power once they have been given the power?

  6. Vermont’s legislature and Gov.RINO Scott did nothing to increase safety in schools,they did enact the states first gun control laws ever,because GUNS and Tyranny.

    Mr. Gov. Benedict Scott isn’t long for office though as he is going to face a challenger in the primary,well bye RINO..

    https://www.vermontgetsstern.org/#

  7. “Abbott also wants to speed up the process of reporting individuals who have been adjudicated as ‘mentally unfit to have a gun.’”

    As long as said adjudication involved due process (notice, representation and the right to be heard) and evidentiary protections that would apply whenever rights are threatened (such as the right to confront adverse witnesses), I’m okay with this.

    Temporary orders based on facts — and not the hysteria or animus of a disgruntled ex-spouse etc. — would be permissible if they are short in duration and subject to a full hearing with due process to occur without undue delay. These types of TROs can be granted in any and every type of case to prevent irreparable damage before a full hearing on the facts can be held. They do not by themselves offend the Constitution.

    If, however, said adjudication lacks due process protections, then it’s actually the definition of tyranny and offends the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

    • Maybe if you’re paid a million a year to do nothing like Wayne LaPierre, but normal people have to, get this, work for a living. A day without pay, not to mention gas and car wear and tear, will break regular people.

      What the hell part of “Shall not be infringed” do you not understand? “Mentally ill” has been the excuse of every despotic government, including the US, to abuse dissenters.

      • Unfortunately, some azzhole always fvcks up the blanket protections of our God given rights.

        Nicholas Cruz should not have been able to purchase or lawfully possess a firearm. Period.

        • Then remove Isreal, who knowingly allowed criminals to go free so he could have the illusion of a low crime rate, from his position (if not bring him up on criminal charges). Rick Scott could have done this without any input from the legislature, but instead chose to break his oath. The gun grabbers aren’t interested in safety, just control.

        • This story is about Gov. Abbott. He is not a gun grabber.

          This story is about Gov. Abbott. He was not a gun grabber a month ago.

      • “A day without pay, not to mention gas and car wear and tear, will break regular people.”

        Get real, man. TROs and temporary injunctions happen hundreds of times a day in all kinds of legal disputes. If someone can afford a gun (or guns) and ammo, they can afford to go to court.

        • If you’re in the position that one (1) day’s pay will “break” you then you’re either unbelievably irresponsible with money or only six months out of college.

          Your statement is either a gross exaggeration or an example of someone who literally can’t afford basically anything.

    • Ralph,

      I can almost agree with your assertion that temporarily confiscating someone’s firearms is just/constitutional IF the full-blown proceeding in court happens within two or three days after the police take possession of someone’s firearms AND the petitioner faces significant legal sanctions should the proceeding show that the petitioner requested the order under false pretenses.

      Having said that, I am having a hard time considering such an arrangement just/constitutional when applied to other rights. For example, would it be just/constitutional for a court order and corresponding police action to force you to wear a muzzle for several days because someone claims that you are going to incite a deadly panic or riot? I say “no”. As you well know, gag orders do not literally force the subject of the order to wear a gag until a future court proceeding.

      Similarly, would it be just/constitutional for a court order and corresponding police action to force you to wear the functional equivalent of a chastity belt for several days because someone claims that you are going to rape someone? Again, I say “no”.

      Thus the problem: if it is unjust and wrong to literally and totally strip someone of other rights for several days based on someone’s claim you are “dangerous”, how is it just and righteous to literally and totally strip someone of their right to keep and bear arms for several days based on someone’s claim that you are “dangerous”?

        • Well, when someone is arrested generally they are charged to have committed a crime… not be someone that might commit one in the future.

        • strych9,

          The key point here is depriving someone of their rights based on nothing more than an unsubstantiated claim.

          What I advocate is an expansion of the idea that Hannibal implied in his comment: law enforcement must have probable cause or an arrest warrant SUPPORTED WITH CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that someone committed or is about to commit a crime before they can arrest someone. This standard should be no different for disarming a person.

          If we must have probable cause or an arrest warrant supported with credible evidence before we can deprive someone of their liberty, then we must have the same standard before we can deprive someone of their life (self-defense) and property.

      • “Due process” would occur BEFORE imprisonment so I would think same before depriving one of their firearms. If that is not “quick” enough for the “authorities” then they need to arrest for actual illegal activity.

    • I too have some huge concerns about so called gun violence restraining orders:

      1) If there is cause for such an order, IMHO as a former first responder, most of the time other measure would be better – such as a mental health evaluation or a restraining order (that also carries a firearms prohibition). This is likely why, in 2016, only 89 such orders were issued in the entire state of California.

      2) Unfortunately – and fortunately, in 90% of these cases, the order was reversed as soon as the subject got their day in court. So, the judges seem willing to reverse them when they are not well founded – but a 90% reversal rate implies a high rate of abuse.

      3) I think that details matter. Who can request such an order? Is the subject’s hearing scheduled automatically? How quickly does the subject get that hearing? What penalties are there for falsely accusing someone?

      4) The reality is that due process does not always precede government action – but it must be prompt. Police doesn’t always need a warrant to arrest someone for a crime – nor is the one accused informed of the application for a warrant. However, a bail hearing must held promptly, and the defendant is entitled to a speedy trial. The same is true of mental health commitments – due process must be prompt, but it is simply not practical for it to happen prior to the initial commitment. I mention these examples to point out that we are not going to be able to successfully challenge these laws on due process grounds.

      As I said, I have huge concerns regarding these orders – but with the NRA on board, in principle, we may not be able to stop their passage in many states. It that is the case, our goal should be to address as many of the above issues as possible.

  8. I was elated when Trump won and saw it as a victory for gun rights and the 2’nd Amendment. Now that Obama’s no longer in charge it seems that all the gun community has done is constantly give ground. We are losing massively on a state by state basis ( and now Texas ). There are no victories only losses.

  9. We need to get rid of No Gun Zones.

    We should allow any teacher who is Licensed to Carry and will agree to regular range time to carry on campus.

    We should allow any parent who is Licensed to Carry and will agree to regular range time to carry on campus.

    That can be implemented immediately and will not cost the state anything.

    You could even throw in the requirement that the teacher or parent must be covered by some type of legal protection plan like Texas Law Shield or Self-Defense Fund.

  10. The issue I have with red flag laws is the binary nature. We jump from do nothing to confiscation or arrest.

    Why can’t we flag someone as a possible danger at a relatively low threshold and keep a close eye on them. Similar to when you see someone acting strange on the street. You don’t attack them, threaten them or draw. You go on alert, watch them, watch your escape route, keep some distance and monitor the situation while letting others on your team know of the potential threat so they too can monitor. If the threat does not materialize, no harm done to anyone. If it does go active, you are prepared to react much, much faster and as a team.

    • Grump Old Guy,

      “Why can’t we flag someone as a possible danger at a relatively low threshold and keep a close eye on them.”

      Over the last two or three years, law enforcement agencies have consistently reported that they were “watching” terrorists and spree killers before their attacks. And yet those terrorists and spree killers attacked anyway.

      I do not believe that we (as a society) have enough resources to “keep a close eye” on everyone who is a possible danger.

  11. Guys, read the whole plan. Abbott stated he wants to uphold the highest standards of due process before implementing a red flag law. It’s not like the ones that have been implemented elsewhere thus far.

      • Abbott stated he wants to uphold the highest standards of due process before implementing a red flag law.
        Maybe Abbott is sincere, but the rest of the swamp worries me.

        • Indiana Tom- The swamp does worry me, but with elections so close, I can’t see anything bad passing, but maybe I’m naive.

    • Abbott stated he wants to uphold the highest standards of due process before implementing a red flag law.

      And Reagan said he wanted to stop current/future inflows of illegal aliens before legalizing the ones who were already here.

  12. So the new double speak is “I support the 2nd, but take the guns then due process later.”

    Delete your social media boys. These “red flag” bills are going to lead to a lot of people filing complaints now because “they don’t feel safe” it you post pictures of yourself at the range or posing with the buck you bagged.

    • Mike, I don’t think you know what due process is. Well, you’re not alone. A lot of people throw words around without any understanding of what they mean.

      • I’m fully aware what it is. However, all of the politicians including Trump don’t seem to understand how it works. One just needs to look at actual legislation passed in Florida and proposed legislation like in Massachusetts (which actually gives more protection to the person filing the complaint then the accused if the complaint is bogus) and you can see that there is no regard for due process at all.

        • You mean like how a judge has to sign off on the order. No, that’s not due process…

  13. a “red flag” law. That would allow relatives or others to petition a court to confiscate the guns of someone suspected to be a danger to himself or others.
    the state will expand crime stopper programs and make it easier for students to report possible threats
    Endless possibilities.

  14. He’s proposing to have more police officers in schools, making the buildings part of their regular rounds (aren’t they already?)
    A lot of the schools around here already do this. How original!

  15. He’d limit entry points and equip buildings with alarms that are different than standard fire alarms.
    Schools around here already do that and done that. Different alarms not so much, but the schools are at least a little more difficult to get into as you have to be buzzed on through.
    Yes, hardening the schools will not be foolproof against Seal Team 6.

  16. Lots of comments on his restraining order part, but what about the substantive parts. That looks really expensive, Texas is going to have to raise taxes to pay for it.

    • Nope, the legislature will simply let the higher taxes generated as a result of rising property valuations pay for it all the while claiming they didn’t raise taxes.

  17. I think Teaxas might need a new governor who doesn’t bend a knee for the liberal left’s agendas…”Red Flag, Or Extreme Risk Protection Orders” designed to circumvent the U.S. Constitution —Bill of Rights is just another step to eliminate civil liberties, due process, innocents till proven guilty in a court of law, the ability of the accused to face THEIR accuser, etc….Just another step closer for the government to declare individual [email protected] supporters and weapons owners as “Enemies of the State…” Massachusetts at least drop all pretenses and decided to call it a gun confiscation bill…With Massachusetts becoming one step closer to an true of Authoritarian police state….

    • Why, what part of his proposal didn’t you like? The part where he says that firearms can only be removed AFTER due process is fulfilled? The part where he says more teachers should be armed? Those parts?
      Read the actual proposal.

    • Texas’ rank is largely due to the high number of students we have that do not speak English. These are mostly illegal immigrants that don’t speak English, and do not finish school. They spend a few years here and then go back home. That dramatically alters the testing scores, as well as the drop-out rate.

      In reality, Texas ranks in the middle of the pack for actual achievement on standardized tests and drop outs, even though about 5% of our student population doesn’t speak English and has no intention of finishing school. That’s actually pretty impressive.

      Even so, as measured by achievement, Texas ranks 24th in the nation, as the article you linked points out. We drop down to 43rd because they count spending as a criteria, assuming incorrectly that the more you spend on schools, the better they are. This has been proven patently false in Texas, as some of the poorest schools (like Ysletta in West Texas) have the highest achievement rating.

      • “Texas’ rank is largely due to the high number of students we have that do not speak English. These are mostly illegal immigrants that don’t speak English, and do not finish school.”
        Since most illegal immigrants come from countries were its against the law to own a gun, wouldn’t it make since to enforce the nations borders even if it means building wall?

        Or should the USA just let people come here who really don’t support gun civil rights? Or the rest of the Bill of Rights?

  18. Bring on the police state… police school….

    The more cops there are in schools, the more people will grow up cowering before “authority” and believing that their proper place is to be treated like inmates.

  19. We have two resource officers in my kids’ former High School. Around 3500 students. This does not cover outside fields, football area, and an off site tennis and soccer area. There are two separate buildings just for teaching four grades. Doesn’t include the portable buildings.

    Enough? Don’t think so.

  20. I take many of you didn’t actually read the proposal, but instead took NPR at their word.
    Read the actual proposal. Abbot makes it clear, in several places, that firearms would be removed only AFTER due process was fulfilled.
    Plus, he has proposed no bill. He is literally just asking the legislature to hold a hearing on the merits of such a law. That’s what an interim charge is. Note, even then he make it clear “only after legal due process is provided”

    There is nothing illegal, unconstitutional, or immoral about this proposal. It also asks the legislature to make arming teachers easier and faster.

    From the proposal itself:
    •Encourage the Texas Senate and House leaders to issue an interim charge to consider the merits of adopting a red flag law allowing law enforcement, a family member, school employee, or a district attorney to file a petition seeking the removal of firearms from a potentially dangerous person only after legal due process is provided.

  21. Why has know one pressed Gov. Abbott on arming teachers who volunteer to carry guns concealed, since the last school shooter shot the uniformed guard first????
    It seems a lot of people are avoiding the obvious. Including some gun owners.

  22. That’s bullshit to be a naysayer for the Governor’s proposal. The other crap that’s in place hasn’t worked. Gun advocates can’t just reject everything out of hand because someday we’re going to end up with nothing.
    Governor Abbott has given us something good to make a start with. He’s the best Governor in the United States for Gun Rights. We need to support him. Especially since no one posting here has any ideas except telling us why nothing will work.

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