Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the Legislature will focus on several priorities to increase safety in Texas public schools when the Legislature convenes in January, but so called 'Red Flag' laws will not be among them, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
'Red Flag' laws allow a judge, on the referral of a family member, police officer, or school official, to order guns confiscated from an otherwise law abiding citizen on the presumption that the person 'might' be a danger to himself and others.
Several witnesses told the Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools, which Patrick created after the May shooting at Santa Fe High School, that 'Red Flag Laws,' which are in place in other states and have been upheld in the courts, have stopped dozens of suicides and homicides.
But many gun rights groups say the laws risk the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, and point out that the 'evidence' that the person might be a danger could include political speech, or even the very act of owning a gun itself.
Patrick says several measures considered by the Committee, which held its final meeting on Tuesday, will be up for consideration, including change the architecture of school buildings to limit entrance points, increasing the presence of law enforcement officers in schools, expanding the 'school marshal' program, and better dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues.
“Regarding the topic of 'Red Flag' laws, which was discussed today in the select committee, I have never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate. A bill offered last session garnered little support. Governor Greg Abbott formally asked the legislature to consider 'Red Flag' laws in May so I added them to the charges I gave to the select committee. However, Gov. Abbott has since said he doesn’t advocate 'Red Flag' laws," Patrick said.