Texas Sen. Gutierrez Files Bills Allowing School Shooting Victims to Sue State – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Eight months after the massacre inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio, Dist. 19) filed legislation Tuesday that aims to curb future mass shootings while also holding state and local authorities accountable to victims of gun violence.
At the Texas Capitol building, Gutierrez introduced two concurrent resolutions and two bills to the Texas Legislature he said would improve access to justice for shooting victims and their families.
Here are the bills put forth by Gutierrez on Tuesday.
- SCR 11 (Senate Concurrent Resolution), Repeal PLCAA, which would urge the U.S. Congress to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun manufacturers and distributors from liability related to crimes or violence committed with their products despite reckless and inflammatory advertising.
- SCR 12, Sue the State, would empower any student or teacher injured or killed during the massacre at Robb Elementary to sue the state of Texas and any of its agencies.
- SB 574 (Senate Bill), School Violence Victims’ Compensation Act, would create a permanent compensation fund for the victims of school gun violence and allow additional relief to reach Texas families impacted by school shootings. It establishes a tax imposed on every retail sale of firearms and ammunition sold within the state of Texas.
- SB 575, End Qualified Immunity, would end qualified immunity for peace officers employed by local governments or the state, allowing individuals harmed by the officers’ actions or failure to act, to hold those officers liable for damages and/or the violation of their rights.
Regarding SCR 11, Gutierrez said the U.S. Congress needs to stop protecting gun manufacturers and that laws need to be changed to allow victims to sue gun manufacturers.
“You can sue big tobacco. You can sue big beer. But you can’t sue big guns?” Gutierrez asked. “It’s kind of crazy. We need to allow that to happen.”
Gutierrez said with SB 574 he wants to make it possible for the families to receive compensation from the state if their child is injured or killed in a school shooting.
SB 574 provides $1 million to families if their child is killed in a school shooting. Families who have a child physically injured in a school shooting would receive $250,000 and those families who have a child suffer mental injuries would receive $100,000.
“I think that if your child gets killed in one of our schools that we should compensate you,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said the compensation plan would be funded by a tax of $.05 per bullet sold in Texas. Gutierrez said a billion bullets are sold in the state every year and that the tax could raise $50,000,000 for the fund.
Gutierrez shared his filings Tuesday alongside family members of Uvalde victims, saying this has to be the session where Texas lawmakers do something about gun safety instead of holding round tables and just talking about it.
“This state agency, the Department of Public Safety that failed these children for 77 mins, for a lack of leadership, under no circumstances should they be allowed to walk away and not compensate people,” Gutierrez said Tuesday. “There’s not an amount of money that’s gonna bring back their children, not one bit, but there should be justice.”
WHAT IS A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION?
According to the Legislative Reference Library of Texas, a Concurrent Resolution is one of three types of resolutions a legislator can introduce and is “a type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature and generally requires action by the governor. A concurrent resolution is used to convey the sentiment of the legislature and may offer a commendation, a memorial, a statement of congratulations, a welcome, or a request for action by another governmental entity. Concurrent resolutions are also used to memorialize (petition) the U.S. Congress, express the views of the legislature, designate official state symbols, and adopt official date or place designations. Additionally, concurrent resolutions are used for administrative matters that require the approval of both chambers, such as providing for adjournment or a joint session, but these types of concurrent resolutions do not require action by the governor.”
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