AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Friday, at the NRA convention in Houston, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz stated one of the solutions to preventing mass shootings in the future could be limiting schools to one single entrance across the state.
The comments came just three days after the mass shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children were murdered along with two teachers.
“There are best practices at federal buildings and courthouses where for security reasons they limit the means of entry to one entrance. Schools, likewise, should have a single point of entry,” Cruz said Friday.
He said if one of his school securitization bills that hadn’t made it out of the Senate had passed, and schools were limited to just one entrance, the Uvalde massacre could have been avoided.
“Senate Democrats cynically blocked school safety funding in [my] Grassley-Cruz [bill] and they have repeatedly blocked my legislation to allow schools to access $1.3 billion in federal funds to improve school safety. Had Uvalde gotten a grant to upgrade the school security, they might have made changes that could have stopped the shooter and killed him at the single point of entrance with armed law enforcement,” Cruz stated.
Education experts said having only one entrance could cause logistical nightmares for larger schools in the state. According to data from the UIL, 249 schools in Texas are 6A schools, which have more than 2,225 students. 502 schools fall in the 5A category, with at least 1,300 students in each.
A similar proposition was also floated by Cruz and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick after the 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, where 10 people died.
But, that proposition didn’t make its way into any of the school safety bills the legislature passed during the regular session of 2019.
One of the bills that did pass sent $69,000 in grant funding to Uvalde’s school district for increased security efforts in 2020.
That’s why Texas Democrats said the focus needs to go beyond school securitization.
“[Republicans] are so proud of their 17 school hardening bills. You know, there was human error here on all parts. And we saw human error of teacher propped open that door for some reason,” State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said. He’s the Democrat representing Uvalde, who served as a House member before being elected to the Senate in 2021.
He said the focus should be on gun reform.
“Ted Cruz is a moron. He’s just an idiot. This isn’t about one door, man. This is about you stopping; this is about Republicans that have sold themselves to the gun lobby,” Gutierrez said.
He and his Democratic senate colleagues sent a letter to the Governor over the weekend, urging him to call a special session to pass new gun restrictions.
Those include raising the minimum age of buying a firearm from 18 to 21, along with red flag laws that were proposed after the Santa Fe shooting, but never made it to the Governor’s desk.