Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has an idea to stop school shootings, and fire safety experts aren’t very happy with it.
In the wake of the shooting at Santa Fe High School on Saturday that left 10 people dead, Patrick was asked if the prevalence of guns could have played a role. Instead, he suggested that the deadly shooting was the result of too many entrances and exits of the school building, the Independent noted.
“We may have to look at the design of our schools moving forward and retrofitting schools that are already built. There are too many entrances and too many exits,” Patrick said.
Many had called for stricter gun reform measures after the second mass shooting in a high school within the last three months, but Republican leaders in Texas have rebuffed these suggestions. Texas Governor Greg Abbott instead suggested taking “action” to prevent school shootings, but would not say exactly what he had planned.
Dan Patrick said schools could look into the possibility of limiting the entrances and exits and placing an armed guard at each of these doors. The suggestion was met with widespread ridicule, especially among fire safety experts who noted that limiting the number of exits in the case of an emergency would be a recipe for disaster.
Robert Solomon, the division director for building and life safety codes with the National Fire Protection Association, told CW39 in Houston that schools would need to limit the number of entry points while providing many more optional exits. He compared it to a big box store, where shoppers all enter through the main doors but have many emergency exit options. As the outlet noted, fire safety experts have said the idea to simply reduce entrances and exits would make schools very unsafe.
Left-leaning organizations and news outlets seized on Patrick’s remarks, which also mentioned abortion as a cause of school shootings and suggested that teachers carry guns.
Despite Dan Patrick’s suggestion that schools need fewer doors, gun reform advocates have continued their push to implement measures like universal background checks and a nationwide minimum age to purchase firearms, especially on semi-automatic weapons. The student accused of carrying out the school shooting in Texas allegedly used a shotgun and a 0.38 revolver, both of which he had taken from his father. Both guns were purchased legally.