The federal government may move to tear down Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and replace it with a new campus, a state senator said Sunday.
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, said President Joe Biden told him the White House was “going to look to raze that school, build a new one.” Biden and first lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde on Sunday to grieve with the families impacted after a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at the school on Tuesday.
An emotional Gutierrez said he was working with the White House to rebuild the school.
“There’s a federal grant process for it,” he told KSAT, a local TV station, on Sunday. “That’s the sad part, there’s a federal protocol for schools like Columbine and others, where they give you” millions to rebuild. “What kind of world are we living in that legislation was created for razing these schools. It makes no sense.”
The lawmaker went on to say he was also looking to secure funding for mental health facilities in Uvalde, adding that he “can’t tell you how many little children I’ve talked to that don’t want to go back into that building.”
“We’re going to look at getting real money for mental health care,” he said. “This is a community that is going to need therapy. There’s one psychiatrist in Uvalde, very few mental health therapists. We’re going to change that. It is a must.”
Gutierrez, alongside other Democrats, has called on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to call a special legislative session to weigh new gun control measures, including universal background checks and a proposal to raise the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. On Friday, Gutierrez interrupted a press conference Abbott was holding after the shooting
“We have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said. “Just call us back.”
Abbott, alongside many top Republicans, has dismissed common-sense gun control efforts.
“There’s not a hunter in Texas that utilizes these kinds of weapons,” Gutierrez later told The Texas Tribune. “And so I’m not saying let’s take those kinds of weapons away, I’m saying that we should have some greater accessibility restrictions. … When you’ve got an 18-year-old kid getting his hands on this kind of weaponry, it just makes no sense to me.”