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Good For Texas: Lone Star State Moves Closer To Increasing Armed Personnel In Schools

Last May, there was a horrific school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. The Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl reported on it, at the time:

At least eight people have been killed in a shooting inside Santa Fe High School in Texas, about 30 miles southeast of Houston, according to news reports.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says one suspect is in custody and a second one is detained, ABC13-TV reports. Law enforcement officials say the shooter is a student.

The school district said in a statement: “This morning an incident occurred at the high school involving an active shooter. The situation is active, but has been contained. There have been confirmed injuries. Details will be released as we receive updated information. Law enforcement will continue to secure the building and initiate all emergency management protocols to release and move students to another location.”

The shooting took place in an art class on campus between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. local time, authorities said.

Final reports indicated that ten people tragically perished — eight students and two teachers.

For months after the Santa Fe shooting, many in both Texas state electoral politics and the Texas political commentariat class debated what might be done in the Lone Star State to deter would-be school shooters. Last month, The Texas Tribune reported on numerous school safety bills that are wending their way through the state legislature in the current session. Notably missing from the lawmakers’ legislative agenda was gun control itself:

At Tuesday’s committee hearing — which ran for roughly eight hours — lawmakers laid out a bevy of school safety bills, a top priority for both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott. Consideration of the legislation came almost a year after the Santa Fe shootings. Proposals included altering an existing state-sanctioned program to arm teachers and a sweeping measure that would expand emergency training and threat assessment teams in Texas schools.

Gun control wasn’t a topic of consideration at Tuesday’s hearing. Instead, lawmakers spent the bulk of their time discussing what could be done to prevent — or at least mitigate — the next mass tragedy. The proposals that earned the support of lawmakers of all political stripes included ones to strengthen security and mental health initiatives in schools.

“We have to have the threat assessment and we have to have the mental health, or else we’re going to lose this battle,” said Michael Matranga, the executive director of security and school safety for Texas City Independent School District.

Now, also according to The Texas Tribune, the Texas Senate has followed through and passed a bill that “would remove a cap on the number of school personnel that can carry firearms at schools.” More from The Tribune:

In the first legislative session after a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 dead and 13 others wounded, the Texas Senate on Monday advanced a bill that would abolish the limit on how many trained school employees — known as school marshals — can carry guns on campus.

Under the marshal program, school personnel whose identities are kept secret from all but a few local officials, are trained to act as armed peace officers in the absence of law enforcement. Currently, schools that participate in the program can only designate one marshal per 200 student or one marshal per building.

“School districts need to be able to tailor the school marshal program for their unique needs,” State Sen. Brandon Creighton, a Conroe Republican who authored Senate Bill 244, said about the legislation last week. “SB 244 removes those limitations in statute on the school marshal program to accommodate the unique needs of districts across the state …”

Per The Tribune, the bill passed by a 20-10 margin — only Democrats opposed the measure. It now heads to the Texas House for debate.

But it seems that, at least for this week, Texas has lived up to its billing as a pro-gun rights bastion.

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