Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed eight executives orders on Thursday in an effort to “better protect” residents amid calls for action in the wake of two deadly mass shootings there.
Abbott, a Republican, said the orders would improve requirements for authorities when it comes to reporting suspicious individuals and make it easier for the public to identify potential mass shooters. The orders, however, do not deal with guns.
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“Texas must achieve several objectives to better protect our communities and our residents from mass shootings,” Abbott said in a statement Thursday. “One of those objectives is to marshal law enforcement resources to stop violent criminals before they commit mass murders. But more must be done.”
Cengiz Yar/Getty Images, FILE
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott holds a press conference with local and federal law enforcement at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin following a deadly shooting spree on Sept. 1, 2019, in Odessa, Texas.
“I will continue to work expeditiously with the legislature on laws to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals, while safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Texans,” he added.
The announcement comes as the state works to recover from two mass shootings that claimed the lives of 29 people and wounded dozens more.
A gunman targeted Mexicans at a Walmart in El Paso on Aug. 3, killing 22 people. Then, another shooter killed seven and injured nearly two dozen others in Odessa on Saturday, just a day before looser firearm restrictions went into effect statewide.
Sue Ogrocki/AP, FILE
Law enforcement officials process the crime scene from a shooting rampage which ended with the shooter being shot dead by police in a stolen mail van, right, in Odessa, Texas, Sept. 1, 2019.
In the aftermath of both shootings, officials learned that the mother of the El Paso gunman had expressed concerns to law enforcement about her son, the governor’s office noted in a statement announcing the orders. In Odessa, the killer had called both local and federal authorities prior to his shooting spree.
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“Today’s directives by the governor will help close the information gaps when suspicion of a potential mass shooter arises,” the office said in a statement. “While these executive orders will enhance law enforcement’s ability to respond and prevent these shootings, legislative solutions are still needed.”