Texas lawmakers approve bill requiring an armed person at every public school

Austin, Texas - Texas legislators on Sunday approved a bill that would require every public school in the state to have at least one armed person, sending the measure to Governor Greg Abbott's desk for signature.

Families of children murdered in the mass shootings of Uvalde and Santa Fe demand gun reform at the Texas Capitol in Austin.
Families of children murdered in the mass shootings of Uvalde and Santa Fe demand gun reform at the Texas Capitol in Austin.  © Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Texas lawmakers in both chambers voted to pass HB 3 shortly after the one-year anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting, which left 19 children and two adults adults dead.

The measure requires every Texas public school have at least one armed person on site and makes mental health training mandatory for certain district employees.

The armed person can be either a peace officer, school resource officer, school marshal, or school district employee.

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HB 3 additionally calls for the creation of a safety and security department within the Texas Education Agency, which could compel school districts to develop active-shooter protocols and monitor their implementation.

For counties with fewer than 350,000 people, the local sheriff would be required to hold semi-annual meetings on school safety and law enforcement.

Texas' "school safety" bill stokes controversy

HB 3 has stoked controversy, with many saying restricting firearm access is the way to go rather than increasing the presence of guns at schools.

Many family members of the Uvalde victims had rallied around HB 2744, which would have raised the minimum age to purchase certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21.

Though that bill advanced out of a Texas House committee, it did not get added to the legislative calendar on time to give it a chance of passage.

Cover photo: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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