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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Holds Roundtable Discussions On School Safety After Santa Fe Shooting

A group of lawmakers will meet with students, educators and advocates on both side of the guns debate starting Tuesday to discuss potential legislative changes in light of the Santa Fe high school shooting

Police tape in front of Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas on May 20, 2018.

In response to the Santa Fe school shooting that killed eight students and two teachers, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he’ll host a series of discussions at the Capitol this week on issues like arming teachers, school safety measures, mental health and bullying.

From Tuesday through Thursday, Abbott, a Republican, will meet at the Capitol with shooting survivors, students, parents, teachers and advocates on both sides of the gun debate. Tuesday's discussion will seek input from school administrators and law enforcement leaders on ways to improve school security.

On Friday morning, during first period, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis came into his high school and shot at students and staff with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver, both of which were owned legally by his father, according to authorities. Abbott and other Texas politicians traveled to the town southeast of Houston to offer their condolences and call for action.

"We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families," Abbott said at a news conference outside of the high school Friday afternoon. "It's time in Texas that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again."

On Friday, Abbott mentioned relatively uncontroversial measures to existing gun laws: speeding up background checks, policies to keep guns away from those who "pose an immediate danger," and more resources for school safety personnel and to address mental health issues tied to gun violence. He also proposed expanding a Lubbock program aimed at preventing at-risk students from committing violent acts that began in response to mass shootings in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn.

At a separate press conference Friday, state Rep. Chris Turner of Grand Prairie, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said he welcomed a discussion with state leaders, but added that Texas should go further by passing universal background checks, require the reporting of stolen guns and begin a "safe gun storage campaign."

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