DAY 2: Texas leaders continue discussions on school security in wake of Santa Fe HS tragedy

AUSTIN, Texas (KTRK) -- One by one, they filed in to the closed-door session on day two of roundtable discussions about school security.

They were all people involved in the discussion to make schools safer, to do something about the kind of gun violence that happened in Santa Fe, Texas, five days ago.

One of those in the room was Ed Scruggs. He's with the non-profit Texas Gun Sense. He sees a real opportunity to effect change.

"We've been asking for something like this for a long time," he told Eyewitness News of the three-day session. "Improving our child access protection laws and our gun storage regulations. Santa Fe directly speaks to that. Those guns were not properly stored."

He'd also like to see an ad campaign to promote gun safety, which is something on the order of the famed Don't Mess With Texas.

"I think to ignore the role that guns play in gun violence is just not very realistic," he said.

Those efforts may be possible in this climate. The stated goal of the three-day discussion is action, not more talk.

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Current House Speaker Joe Straus is one of the few invited to all three sessions.

"If we can come up with something that can be implemented before the beginning of next school year, that's everyone's goal here," said Rep. Straus.

He wouldn't commit to the need for a special legislative session to accomplish that goal.

But, outside the Capitol building, there were those who were calling for just that. A late morning press conference on the steps of the building called for action and "common sense" gun laws. Among them was Andrea Brauer, a gun control advocate who is hopeful of the roundtable discussions but skeptical.

"Unfortunately it took a tragedy at a school to make this happen," she said, adding that campus violence is only part of the larger issue. "There were eight kids that died on Friday. There were 106 other Texas kids that have been shot in Texas this year in different places besides schools. "

Those here, and those inside those closed door meetings, have ideas about legislation that would require better gun security, more restrictive child access, and emergency actions that would temporarily remove guns from the mentally ill if they pose an imminent danger.

"Parents are scared and right now we're just sending our kids to school with prayers this last week of school and we should have more than that. We should have policies in place to keep our kids safe," said Austin State Representative Gina Hinojosa.

She wants legislative action before the next school year, if possible.

As she and several dozen others have made their voices heard on the steps Wednesday, they hope the same message is part of the meetings another flight up.

There is one more day for the sessions. It's Thursday afternoon, and inside the room with Gov. Abbott are victims of gun violence, parents, and teachers.
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