Focus on School Safety, Not Guns, in Santa Fe

No one in the Texas city where 10 died in a school shooting last Friday agree to meet with a gun control advocate. Gov. Greg Abbott holds a roundtable Tuesday on school security.

Days after a gunman killed 17 people in Parkland, Fl., gun control advocate Sandy Phillips traveled to the city and was encouraged when student survivors wanted to discuss the shooting and push measures to prevent similar incidents. The scene in Santa Fe, Tx., has been far different since she arrived Friday, reports USA Today. Phillips, whose daughter Jessica was killed in the Aurora, Co., theater shooting six years ago, said no one has agreed to meet with her. Few want to talk about the deadly rampage inside the Texas school that left 10 people dead and 13 injured, much less discuss ways to prevent shootings. “This has been starkly different from Parkland in so many ways,” said Phillips, who has visited nine mass shooting scenes in six years, offering support to survivors and victims’ families. “It’s almost jarring.”

The Santa Fe shooting has delivered a much more muted response to the gun debate. Gov. Greg Abbott will host roundtable discussions, beginning Tuesday, to find solutions to improve security at Texas schools, which will include parents, teachers, mass shooting survivors, legislators and groups that advocate for and against further gun regulations. “What law can you pass that stops someone who ignores the law?” said Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, the county’s top administrator. “We need to focus a lot more attention on mental health.” Police said shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, used a pump-action shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver that he got from his father. The fact that the guns were commonly owned weapons in Texas has made it trickier for gun control advocates to point to stricter gun laws to prevent shootings. Texas has some of the nation’s most gun-friendly laws, including the right to openly carry handguns in some places for law-abiding residents and no background checks required for private firearms sales.