Gov. Abbott releases Texas Safety Action Plan to help prevent mass shootings

In response to recent mass shootings here in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott spoke with victims and law enforcement to see what changes can be made when it comes to weapons and mass shootings.

On Thursday, Abbott released his recommendations.

The gun law debate is not about if change should happen, it’s a matter of if both sides can agree on the same thing to prevent future mass shootings.

El Paso, Midland, and Odessa are the cities in the forefront of the renewed gun law debate.

Gov. Abbott spent weeks listening to victims, first responders, and mental health professionals.

“When you start talking about passing laws, it’s important that you have laws that can prevent the crimes that you are trying to prevent,” Abbott said.

Thursday, he released his Texas Safety Action Plan, adding to executive orders announced in recent days and suggesting new laws.

By executive order, Gov. Abbott instructed DPS to create across the board intake questions for 911 operators.

This was done in an effort to gain information to be placed in a "suspicious activity report."

He wants a law passed to expedite the reporting of criminal convictions to DPS, and wants lawmakers to find ways to make it easy for voluntary background checks for private gun sales between strangers.

David Prince owns Eagle Gun Range in Farmers Branch.

“You can pass more laws, but until you enforce those laws, it’s not going to help us any,” he said.

He thinks Abbott’s proposals address the heart of the problem: communication.

“They are not addressing the real issues, and the issue is breakdown in communication between agencies, family reporting, school reporting,” Prince added.

But he believes what some Democrats are proposing in reference to high power riffle bans won’t stop what’s happening.

Two committees in the Texas House and Senate were created to prevent mass shootings.

Republican Giovanni Capriglione, from Keller, is on the committee.

He sent a statement saying:

"What we have been doing to date has not been working. And there isn't just one issue we need to address. In just this last session, we worked on public school safety and mental health programs. We worked on funding computers/ communications systems upgrades so that reporting public safety information was faster and more efficient.”

Democrat Julie Johnson, from Dallas, is also on the committee.

"In the past, we have failed to protect Texans because we have ignored this epidemic of gun violence, but we can’t begin to protect anyone until we come together as a legislative body. We owe it to ourselves and our children to create a future where our families can attend school, shop in public spaces, and drive down our beautiful Texas highways without the fear of being senselessly gunned down," she said in a statement.

As Gov. Abbott said after the nation’s latest mass shooting, too many people are dying.

The question is, will lawmakers ever work together to fix it?

“Too many Texans are in mourning. Too many Texans have lost their lives. The status quo in Texas is unacceptable,” Gov. Abbott said.