AUSTIN (Nexstar) — One day after lawmakers passed an unprecedented investment into school security with House Bill 3, the state senator representing Uvalde said it does not go far enough to address the policing and policy failures at Robb Elementary last year.
“There’s not one bill coming out of either one of these bodies that’s about accountability or transparency,” State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said Tuesday. “These families will be stuck having to figure out what will happen for the next five, six, seven years.”
Gutierrez said the bill does not address the policies that families of those killed in Robb Elementary have been advocating for for almost a year. He called for the legislature to consider legislation that directly addresses gun violence, invoking the actions other conservative states have taken after mass shootings.
“Let’s be very clear. I’m for anything that’s going to make our schools safer,” Gutierrez said. “But the three things that is going to really make our schools safer is extreme risk protective orders, you take guns out of the hands of mentally ill. Florida did it. It worked. Raising the age limit. It’s going to take guns, AR-15s, out of 18,19 and 20 year olds. Florida did it. It worked. Closing the gun show loophole, universal background checks. Florida did it. It worked.”
The senator said House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 11 are the most likely paths forward for most school safety legislation after they are consolidated in conference committee. He acknowledged none of his bills are likely to pass, but he will continue to propose the ideas through amendments to other bills.
“I started real nice. I was in [Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s] office a couple of times in the very beginning part of this session, I had a long discussion with him in the office as to where we could go, what we could do, what we could agree with. And none of those things have materialized,” Gutierrez said. “He says, ‘Hey, go talk to the members.’ You talk to the members, and they tell me ‘Go talk to him.’ What are we really talking about other than one man making a decision for all of Texas?”
Gutierrez’s lack of traction in the solidly-conservative Senate have spurred some reports that the state senator may challenge U.S. Senator Ted Cruz for the federal office. Gutierrez did not confirm or deny those reports on Tuesday.
“I’m here for the next five weeks to do the work that I need to do here for the next five weeks. My wife and I will sit down and decide all those things down the road. What’s most important to me is my community and these families,” he said. “My future doesn’t matter. The next five weeks is what matters to all Texas families. And it will not be an indictment on me. It will be an indictment on Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick and Dade Phelan.”