Second day of roundtable discussion on school safety

The round-table discussion on school safety in Texas continued at the Capitol on Tuesday. Governor Greg Abbott addressed some of the root challenges such as guns, gun regulations, and mental health.

Abbott says this is a multi-step process. The first step is to have rountables that lead to solutions, the second step is taking those solutions through the executive or legislative route. 

"To make sure we will not lose any more students in our schools because of gun fire," says Governor Greg Abbott, (R) Texas.  

Governor Greg Abbott says that's why finding solutions is the purpose of these roundtable discussions. Day 2 at the Capitol was three hours long. Abbott met with school officials, mental health experts and interest groups both for and against gun regulations 

"Every single time there's been some kind of shooting episode, there were balls dropped. So to assign blame to a firearm, or to part of a firearm, is to lose the whole concept of the human that was involved in it," says Alice Tripp, legislative director of the Texas State Rifle Association.

Many suggestions arose from the discussion, such as better discipline for students in the classroom and finding strategies to identify those who should be removed. Another suggestion is empowering students to alert school officials whenever they have information that could lead to potential danger.

Abbott says one thing that seemed to be agreed upon by everyone in the room, is that early intervention is essential in regards to mental health. They talked about increasing access to mental health programs in schools, having screening programs to identify students who may pose a threat to themselves or others and educating teachers and students on mental health.

When it comes to gun regulations, Abbott says everyone agreed on the necessity of safe storage of guns, an issue that was brought up after the school shooting in Santa Fe.

"The storage of those weapons, or the failure to secure them, is why the shooter had access and did what he did. A very positive conversation in terms of, we do need to improve storage and we need to improve awareness of our storage laws," Ed Scruggs, Texas Gun Sense. 

Other things were brought into the spotlight after the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, such as improving background checks.

Another thing that was agreed upon, is if someone with mental health problems is denied access to buying a gun, Abbott says there needs to be a report of that order quickly available.

Right now in Texas that report can be delayed up to 30 days. Ed Scruggs with Texas Gun Sense says the most time was spent on talking about red flag laws: keeping guns away from someone who is an imminent threat for violence. It's similar to what Florida passed in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland.

"It's a proactive step, probably one of the the best proactive steps we think we can take that could prevent mass shootings. It wouldn't prevent every mass shooting or every gun related death but it probably would prevent some," says Scruggs. 

Wednesday is the third and last day of roundtable discussion. Victims, students, families and educators from the Santa Fe, Alpine and Sutherland Springs communities will be there.