Darby to Chair Texas House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention
AUSTIN, TX — Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen announced the formation of the Senate and House Select Committees on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety Tuesday afternoon. This morning Bonnen named State Rep. Drew Darby to chair the House committee.
The committees were formed in response to the recent tragedies in El Paso, Midland, and Odessa. Lt. Gov. Patrick and Speaker Bonnen have each formed a select committee to study and recommend effective legislative solutions that will help prevent mass gun violence and improve community safety.
Each committee will be tasked with examining a comprehensive cross section of policy-related charges. Committee jurisdiction and issue areas will be announced this week, along with a full list of committee members in the Senate and House. The select committees will provide a final list of legislative recommendations to be translated into proposed statutory changes.
According to the Quorum Report, State Rep. Drew Darby will chair the House committee of 13 selected state representatives, including:
- Drew Darby - R (Chair)
- Poncho Nevárez - D (Vice-Chair)
- César Blanco - D
- Giovanni Capriglione - R
- Charlie Geren - R
- Barbara Gervin-Hawkins - D
- Julie Johnson - D
- Brooks Landgraf - R
- Mike Lang - R
- Joe Moody - D
- Geanie Morrison - R
- Four Price - R
- Armando Walle - D
Specifically, the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety is directed to:
- 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;
- Examine the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, assessment, reporting, and prevention, including the collaboration between digital media and law enforcement;
- Assess challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information and other threat indicators to state and federal databases;
- 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.
"The tragic shootings we've too often witnessed across our state, and most recently in El Paso and West Texas, require lawmakers to step up and be courageous in formulating real policy solutions to prevent future violence," said Representative Darby. "We grieve with the families and friends of victims, and we commit to them and all Texans that we will act now to protect the safety and the rights of citizens."
"Drew Darby is an excellent choice to chair the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety," said Governor Greg Abbott. "We visited at length about the purpose and goals for the committee. Representative Darby is committed to achieving meaningful reforms that will make Texas safer while also preserving the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding citizens."
Representative Darby serves House District 72, which includes Coke, Concho, Glasscock, Howard, Irion, Reagan, Runnels, Sterling, and Tom Green Counties.
“The heinous tragedies like those that occurred in El Paso, Midland, and Odessa have become all too common in our state, and such a serious epidemic of violence should be met with meaningful solutions,” Bonnen added. “These committees have difficult, important work before them, and the solutions they come up with will provide a roadmap for the Legislature’s work over the interim and in the next session.”
Patrick said, “Speaker Bonnen and I had previously agreed to study ways to combat domestic terrorism during the interim, but following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Midland — as well as Santa Fe and Dallas — we have decided to appoint Select Committees this week to address these challenges. We will announce the members shortly.”
The House committee will submit a preliminary report and to Speaker Bonnen within 90 days.
At the press conference in Odessa Sept. 1 immediately following Saturday's mass killing attack there, Gov. Greg Abbott said there were too many mass killings in Texas and urged legislators to work with the impacted communities and citizens to decide on ways to eliminate mass violence attacks. Abbott said whatever is decided must protect Second Amendment rights.
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