SANTA FE, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott surprised many Friday by saying he's ready to further the gun control conversation in the aftermath of the school shooting in Santa Fe. 

Abbott announced he'll be gathering advocates from all sides of the debate, including state lawmakers, to discuss ways Texas can make schools safer. 

"We need to do more than just pray for the victims and their families," Abbott said at a press conference. 


Abbott says he wants to hold a series of roundtable discussions as early as next week. 

"To step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas." 

Abbott reiterated several times that any change would first take into account Texans second amendments rights. 

Still, Democratic State Senator Kirk Watson says he's hopeful this can be a step in the right direction.

"It has been too long coming. But now that it is here, let us do it and do it right," Watson said.  

However, Watson says the momentum needs to carry on into legislative action. 

"Let's not forget how we feel today. And then say, 'Well we just can't afford it.' Or, 'We can't do those things.'" 

It's a sentiment echoed by proponents of gun control. 

"Because lives depend on it," said Ed Scruggs of Texas Gun Sense. "The time for politics and games, that's all over now. " 

Meanwhile, lawmakers began floating their ideas to make Texas students safer.

"Maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools so we can have law enforcement," said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, R-Texas. 

The governor also provided some proposals. 

Abbott said he was already about to release a policy paper regarding school safety and gun control. 

Some potential items include speedier gun background checks, strategies to keep guns out of hands of dangerous people, more security for schools, and ways to address mental health issues.

But there was one call for immediate action from the Texas governor. 

"I ask every parent out there, wherever you may be to hold your children close tonight, and let them know how much you love them," Abbott said.