Charles L. Cotton wrote:Re-published with permission from http://www.TexasFirearmsCoalition.com. Permission is granted to republish without editing.
Although I have been in the political and legislative arenas for almost all of my adult life, I am not going to get into politics while parents and other family members are grieving as a result of a mass-murderer in Florida. People who know me will find this statement unusual, but I don’t care one whit about politics, political parties, or left v. right. I don’t want to merely make a point, I want to make a difference. I want to change Texas law so that schools can tap into a giant reserve of experience and talent to protect our kids in school. The cost to schools will be little or nothing, so budget constraints will not be a factor.
In 2017, we changed Texas law to exempt volunteer church security personal from the Texas Private Security Act. This much-needed change allows people to volunteer to serve on their church’s safety team without fear of violating the law. Volunteers who have a Texas License to Carry a Handgun (LTC) can also carry their self-defense sidearms while serving. Thousands of church members are now serving their congregation at no charge making churches much safer than they were prior to September 1, 2017.
Schools should have the same ability to utilize volunteer security personal to help protect our kids. There are many tens of thousands of military veterans and former peace officers who would be willing, no eager, to serve their community and schools by volunteering their experience and expertise to protect schools. Appropriate background checks would be performed on all volunteers and the Legislature could even require such volunteers to have a Texas LTC.
Volunteers who are not military veterans or former peace officers should also be able to serve as volunteers. The Legislature could require these men and women to successfully pass the Texas School Safety Course created by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety in order to serve. (Only LTCs are eligible to take the School Safety Course and receive a certificate.)
I will draft a bill for the 2019 Texas Legislative Session that will accomplish this goal. The only opposition to the volunteer church security bill came from the security industry. Their motive was clear; they wanted to preserve an income stream. The “concerns” about training was merely a smoke screen for their true goal of protecting the industry’s income. We will likely see the same groundless claims raised against a volunteer school security bill, so Texans need to be ready to demand passage of this bill.
I will publish more information on http://www.TexasFirearmsCoalition.com as we get closer to pre-filing for the 2019 legislative session. Be ready to join in the campaign to pass legislation that will truly protect our school kids. As the old saying goes, talk is cheap; it’s time to make a difference.
Sounds great Charles! Keep us posted as to progress on the bill, and when we need to start contacting our reps, to sponsor the bill. This would be especially beneficial to smaller school districts, who may not have budgetary funds, to pay a security team, and who may still be using older buildings, with no money to make retrofitted security measures.