The House overwhelmingly passed a "Stop School Violence" bill Wednesday, providing $50 million a year to beef up school safety, provide better training to identify warning signs and improve coordination between schools and law enforcement, but nothing on gun control. The bill attempts to curb school violence by providing more training for school officials and local law enforcement to respond to mental health crises, as well as, among other things, money to develop anonymous reporting systems for threats and deterrent measures like metal detectors and locks.
While the bill had bipartisan support, many Democrats were frustrated that it doesn't include any gun control measures.
In a bipartisan vote of 407-10, lawmakers approved the STOP School Violence Act, which provides federal grants meant to make schools safer. Orrin Hatch, second from left, who introduced the bill in the Senate, and Patrick Petty, 17, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., next to Hatch.
The vote marks the first gun-related action by Congress since the February 14 attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The rally was part of a nationwide school walkout to protest gun violence following the Florida attack.
On Wednesday, a Senate panel grilled Federal Bureau of Investigation officials over the agency's failures to act on tips received about Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Local students gathered on the West Front of the Capitol with Democratic lawmakers to demand Congress do more to prevent gun violence, like passing a more comprehensive background checks measure that would ensure people purchasing firearms online or at gun shows are subject to the same review as those purchasing in stores. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said. The nonprofit's mission is to prevent gun violence before it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults to identify, intervene, and get help for at-risk individuals. Protesters are demonstrating at the Capitol and in front of the White House on Wednesday.
"This bill, on its own, is not the kind of meaningful congressional action needed to address this crisis of gun violence", Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, said in a statement. The two men have also teamed up on legislation that would encourage states to adopt so-called red flag laws, which would give law enforcement the authority to seize guns from people who pose a threat to themselves or others.
House lawmakers voted 407-10 to approve a bill from Rep.
Almost 70 senators have signed on to a bill co-authored by Texas Republican John Cornyn, R-Tex., and Sen.
"The STOP School Violence Act directly addresses flaws in the system that failed to prevent violence in schools".
Sam Blank and Alia Berry-Drobnich, both 14, said they skipped their 9th-grade classes Wednesday because what happened in Parkland made them afraid to go to school. Increased funding for mental health programs and school security will have positive effects, but "mass shootings will not stop until we rid society of the weapons that make them possible", Katharine Posada told senators. She's hopeful that Congress will enact gun control laws.
Berry-Drobnich said while legislative efforts to improve school safety were good steps, it wasn't enough.