Texas: The Issue Is - Rep. Moody discusses HB 3 after it passed through Texas House
DALLAS - This week, the Texas House overwhelmingly passed HB3, putting an armed officer, security guard, or district staff member on every campus statewide.
FOX 4’s Steven Dial spoke with El Paso Democrat Joe Moody, who was a sponsor on the bill.
Rep. Joe Moody: "I was part of the group of investigators that went down to Uvalde last year, and when we issued our report, we highlighted that there were multiple systemic failures that led to that horrific tragedy. One of those things was the security, or lack thereof, on that particular campus. Our research showed us that that was not unique to Uvalde, that that is something that is a problem across the state. And so when you have multiple systemic failures, you need multiple systemic solutions. And so this is one of the ways that we need to address school safety. One bill does not solve all the problems, but it is certainly an important piece of the puzzle."
Steven Dial: "While a majority of Democrats joined Republicans in passing this, some of your colleagues did not vote for this on the Democratic side. Some have tweeted saying this is putting more guns on campus. What would you rebut that to say?"
Rep. Moody: "I understand their frustration as someone who has been a gun safety advocate for the majority of my legislative career, particularly in the wake of the shooting in El Paso, in my community, and after certainly investigating this crap. I get their frustration that we are bringing gun safety measures to the floor. I'm doing everything in my power to do that, and I've told families both in El Paso and Uvalde, I will continue to do that. That's never going to stop. So I get their frustration. What I would encourage folks on my side of the aisle to understand is it is okay for us to engage in these dialogs across the different buckets of issues in policy kind of policy arenas, school safety, police accountability and training, access to weapons, mental health and the provision of mental health in communities that don't have access to it. All of those things are pieces to solving the problem. And so we should engage fully in all of them and thoughtfully in all of them. Ultimately, it's the Republican colleagues of mine that refuse to thoughtfully engage on any conversation around gun safety. That's on them. That is on them. And I'll continue to hold them accountable for failing to bring that issue forward. But in the meantime, we have to address what we can when it's in front of us."
Dial: "House Bill 3 would say that on every school campus, certainly there needs to be an armed officer or security guard or if you get into the guardian program in Texas, where a licensed staff member or staff member gets some training of the district, would be armed. How would this be funded? I mean, some school districts have their own district police departments, like here in Dallas, but some rural areas may use their local law enforcement. How will this be funded to ensure that every campus will have some form of armed officer?"
Rep. Moody: "The bill increases the safety allotment per student. In fact, when it came to the floor, it was $10 and now it is up to $100. That was an amendment that I passed onto the bill, because if we're going to require this, you can't leave our districts holding the bag. That is not a responsible way to do this."
Dial: "When this session is all said and done, will you personally be proud of the reforms that would have become law at the end of this session, in reference to the quality and mass shootings? Or do you think at the end of the session, there will still be a lot left at the table that both sides couldn't come together on?"
Rep. Moody: "If we don't raise the age to purchase these high-powered weapons, I think we failed our communities. And I will say that directly and bluntly. If we do not do that, that is an abject failure. And it means that we are turning a blind eye to a very real problem and a solution that is pretty straightforward and simple. So while I do think mental health provision permit variety, mental health on campus is fantastic, I have a bill that does that myself. Doing school security is important. Holding police accountable and making sure that they're trained properly to respond to situations. All good things. If we turn a blind eye to raising the age to possessing purchasing these high-powered firearms, then yes, we failed the state of Texas."