Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday called for Texas lawmakers to meet for a special legislative session and come up with recommendations on "meaningful action" that can be taken in response to last week's mass shooting at an elementary school that left 21 dead, including 19 children.
Abbott, in a letter to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan, said the state "must reassess the twin issues of school safety and mass violence" and that the committee process should start "immediately."
He also outlined five topics he wanted committees to take up, including firearm safety, school safety, mental health, social media and police training.
The request comes days after the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus urged Abbott to call an emergency special legislative session to consider a variety of gun restrictions and safety measures in the wake of the shooting.
In a letter released Saturday, all 13 Senate Democrats demanded lawmakers pass legislation that raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from age 18 to 21; implements universal background checks for all firearm sales; creates "red flag" laws that allow a judge to temporarily remove firearms from people considered a threat to themselves or others, and a "cooling off" period for the purchase of a firearm; and regulates high-capacity magazines for citizens.
Texas has had eight mass shootings in the past 13 years, according to the Texas Tribune.
Abbott last week said "all options are on the table" concerning gun legislation, though suggested laws would be more geared toward addressing mental health rather than gun control.
"You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws are passed, that I will sign, addressing healthcare in this state," he said, "That status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We're not going to be here and do nothing about it."
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