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Texas State Sen. Gutierrez announces legislation filed in response to Uvalde school shooting

KVUE-TV Austin 1/24/2023 Britny Eubank, Natalie Haddad

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, has filed a series of bills and resolutions in response to the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School last May.

On Tuesday, Jan. 24 – eight months to the day since the shooting that resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers – Gutierrez announced legislation that aims to push for accountability and help victims' families.

One bill would allow anyone injured in the Robb Elementary shooting to sue the State of Texas and any of its agencies. Another would end qualified immunity for peace officers, which would allow individuals harmed by officers' actions to hold them liable for damages. 

A third resolution would urge the U.S. Congress to repeal a law that shields gun manufacturers and distributors from liability. Another bill would create a permanent compensation fund for victims of school violence.

Gutierrez was joined Tuesday by the families of several Robb Elementary victims, as well as families of victims of 2018's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Gutierrez said Tuesday that he will host similar press conferences weekly because it is a "process" as lawmakers "carve out pieces of legislation." Speaking to attendees, Gutierrez said that he and the families aren't asking for "the moon and stars" but rather "common sense" gun legislation. 

State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt also spoke directly to the victims' families:

Family members themselves also addressed attendees of the press conference.

"This was our first Christmas that our husband and I did not sit with our children to open gifts. Instead, we were locked in our room crying," said the mother of Xavier Lopez, a victim of the Uvalde shooting. "Xavier was the wild one who made sure everyone had a good holiday."

The sister of Irma Garcia, another Uvalde victim, detailed going to the city's community center on May 24. She was directed to wait while classes were bused over from Robb Elementary. 

"For hours, I waited and waited and waited. And they never arrived," she said.

The families said that they have not had communication with Gov. Greg Abbott since before the holidays, when he visited Uvalde. They said he has not reached out otherwise. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's office has said he will meet with the families, but a date has not been set.

"Gov. Abbott, if you're listening, do something!" Gutierrez said during the press conference.

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