Texas House Committee On Violence Members Threatened

Alan Scaia
September 12, 2019 - 9:19 am
Texas Capitol Building

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - The chairman of a Texas House committee says members have received death threats for "starting a conversation" about how to address mass shootings.

The House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety​ was announced last week.

San Angelo Republican Drew Darby chairs the committee. He told a chamber of commerce luncheon in San Angelo two of the 13 members have received death threats.

"What's that tell you about where we are?" he asked. "What does that tell you about people retreating to their foxholes and lobbing mortars out because they may not agree or be fearful of even a conversation of how we protect the public?"

Darby says the committee will not infringe on second amendment rights. He says the group will look at options to strengthen and make "meaningful changes" to current laws. Darby says the committee will look at how current laws might be changed to prevent an attack like the Odessa shooting.​ The suspect had failed background checks but was able to buy a gun through a private sale.

"We're not going to take people's guns; we're not going to take people's due process," Darby says. "But we are going to have a serious conversation."

He says that conversation will look at how communities and police can protect people by better using information and technology.

"How do we engage social media about what information is disseminated to law enforcement?" Darby asked.

Over the next year, he says the committee will hold meetings across the state to look at whether existing laws could have allowed law enforcement to "minimize" cases where someone might fail a background check but still get a gun.

When House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced the committee last week, his office said the group would consider the following issues:​

  • Evaluate options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms; 
  • Assess challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases;
  • Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement;
  • Consider the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state related to cybersecurity, mental health, law enforcement, and related professionals; and
  • Evaluate current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats and consider options for improving the dissemination of information between federal, state, and local entities and timely and appropriate intervention of mental health professionals.