Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, recently issued a string of executive orders to show his concern for the growing number of mass shootings in the Lone Star State, but, oddly, not one of those eight executive orders mentions the word “gun.” Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) criticized Governor Abbott on Twitter for issuing a set of executive orders following two mass shootings in the state but never mentioning the word “gun” in any of these eight executive orders.
Instead, the orders focus mainly on increasing and improving the reporting standards of suspicious activity or suspicious people in the state. The orders also deal with educating the public about how law enforcement uses “Suspicious Activity Reports” (SAR).
O-Rourke is an outspoken advocate for gun reform and took a break from his presidential campaign last month to spend more time in El Paso following the mass shooting, in which a gunman shot and killed 24 and injured 24 others when he opened fire in a Wal-Mart on August 3rd.
Abbott’s Eight Executive Orders
When he issued the executive orders, Governor Abbott said the following: “Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings.” The orders are as follows:
- Within 30 days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety will develop standardized intake questions to be used by all Texas law enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.
- Within 30 days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidelines based on appropriate legal standards for when and how law enforcement agencies submit Suspicious Activity Reports.
- Within 60 days of this order, the Texas Commission of Law Enforcement will make training available to educate all law enforcement officers regarding the standards that will be developed pursuant to Order 1 and Order 2.
- The Department of Public Safety shall create and conduct an initiative to raise public awareness and understanding of how Suspicious Activity Reports are used by law enforcement agencies to identify potential mass shooting or terroristic threats so people are more likely to report information about potential gunmen.
- The Department of Public Safety will work with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Board on ways to better inform schools, students, staff, and families about the importance of Suspicious Activity Reports and how to initiate the process of reporting
- The Department of Public Safety will work with law enforcement mental health professionals, school districts, and others to create multi-disciplinary threat assessment teams for each region and will coordinate with federal partners when appropriate.
- The Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Governor will use available resources to increase staff at all fusion centers in Texas for the purpose of better collecting and responding to Suspicious Activity Reports and better monitoring and analyzing of social media and other forums for potential threats.
- Beginning January 1, 2020, all future grant awards from the Office of the Governor to the counties in Texas shall require a commitment that the county will report at least 90% of convictions within seven business days to the Criminal Justice Information System at the Department of Public Safety. By January 1, 2021, such reporting will be done in five business days.