If someone is a victim of a school shooting, should they be able to sue the state for somehow allowing that shooting to happen?
As things currently stand, they can’t, and that stands to reason. The state has no duty to protect you as an individual. They can’t protect you as an individual.
The law doesn’t differentiate between whether you’re in school or in the middle of the street, the duty to protect simply doesn’t exist. There are times when I’d argue that it should, but it doesn’t.
Yet a lawmaker in Texas wants school shooting victims to be able to sue the state.
Following a string of mass shootings across the US in recent days, parents and families of children killed in a school shooting eight months ago in Uvalde, Texas gathered, as legislators introduced four new gun-control bills.
In front of the parents, state senator Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Uvalde, announced bills he has filed and other plans for this year’s legislative session during a press conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin. No Republican lawmakers joined Democrats who stood with victims’ families and gun control advocates.
Gutierrez introduced laws that, if passed, would give school shooting survivors the right to sue Texas state agencies, permit lawsuits against Texas law enforcement for actions taken while on the job, establish a permanent compensation fund for school shooting victims by levying a tax on state gun sales, and repeal the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun sellers and manufacturers from liability, reported ABC News.
“We can sue big tobacco when they market towards kids, but we can’t sue big guns. It’s ludicrous,” Gutierrez said. “How that ever got passed is beyond me and I think my Republican colleagues can get behind me on that one.”
You can sue “big guns.” You just can sue them for stuff beyond their control, which is what Guitierrez wants. He’s deluding himself if he thinks Texas Republicans will back him on that as well.
Now, I think there are a set of circumstances when lawsuits against the state, state agencies, or local law enforcement might be warranted. That’s particularly true in places where the law treats schools as gun-free zones, thus removing people’s ability to protect themselves while still refusing to assume a duty to at least try and protect.
The same could be argued when law enforcement has multiple encounters like the Parkland killer, someone they’ve encountered on numerous domestic violence calls, yet never arrested him. If such a person goes on to get a gun and carry out a mass shooting, I can see a case for the victims being able to sue as well.
If that’s what Gutierrez was trying to address, he might get some of those Republican colleagues of his on board.
As it stands, though, he’s doing something else entirely, and in the process betraying such a high level of ignorance of reality that it’s downright astounding.
Especially since Texas does have ways to arm teachers and staff, though that decision is relegated to the local districts.
At the end of the day, Gutierrez is trying to push an agenda that has no relationship with any of the facts we know about school shootings.