Dennis Bonnen, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, on Wednesday appointed State Rep. Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton) and 13 other representatives to a newly-formed committee tasked with finding solutions to prevent mass violence and improve safety in the state.
A representative of District 115, which includes Carrollton and Coppell, Johnson was the only representative from the Dallas area to be included in the Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention and Community Safety.
“I am honored to be selected,” Johnson said. “I am very pleased the speaker felt I would be a good member.”
According to a news release, the committee was formed in response to the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Midland and Odessa.
The committee will be given several responsibilities including evaluating options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons, assessing challenges to the timely reporting of relevant criminal history information, examining the role of digital media and technology in threat detection, considering the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state and evaluating current protocols and extreme risk indicators used to identify potential threats.
“Words alone will not deliver the bold solutions Texas needs in order to defeat the violence that has become far too commonplace in our state,” Bonnen said in a release. “The Texas House is putting words into action by forming this committee, and it will be well-served by the range of backgrounds, skill sets and expertise these particular members provide.”
Johnson said she is looking forward to working with her colleagues and is hopeful the committee can make many accomplishments. She said the issue of mass shootings and violence is a complex problem that is going to require a very thoughtful solution.
“Gun violence is rising at an epidemic rate,” Johnson said. “...I am hopeful Texas can provide leadership on how to balance our second amendment protection with preventing these types of mass shootings.”
Several public hearings will be held throughout the state to receive input on the committee and are currently being scheduled.