Jason Villalba, the newly elected state representative from North Dallas, is starting his legislative career with a splash. Villalba announced today that he will introduce the Protection of Texas Children Act, the innocuous-sounding title of a bill that would allow Texas school districts to designate pistol-packing faculty and staff members as "marshals" according to the Morning News.
The bill hasn't yet been filed, so few details are clear. According to the News' initial report, district's won't be required to employ marshals, and that they will have some degree of training in addition to that required to carry a concealed handgun. The bill will also spell out the circumstances in which they are authorized to use lethal force.
"We need to talk very frankly about how we can protect our children if the unthinkable should occur, Villalba said. "Unfortunately, law enforcement personnel cannot be everywhere at all times."
The bill itself comes as no surprise, given last week's shooting in Connecticut and Texas politicians' response to it. And it shouldn't be a surprise when the bill passes the Republican-dominated state legislature, given the lopsidedness of the Second Amendment debate here.
What is a surprise is that such a high-profile bill was filed by Villalba, a legislative rookie. It goes to show that the state GOP really does consider him its future.
Update at 3:32 p.m.: Villalba hasn't yet called us back, but he did send out a tweet a while ago:
The legislation is NOT about teacher carry.It is about having trained under cover law enforcement officers on campus.— Jason Villalba (@JasonVillalba) December 18, 2012
That clears everything up.