U.S. Representatives Lucy McBath (GA-06), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05) announced that the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act has been tabled, legislation that will allow the public and policymakers “to more accurately assess gun violence on school campuses and seek solutions to keep children safe,” lawmakers said.
The law would also define “school shooting,” a term that currently does not exist in federal law. Policymakers rely on media reports of “school shootings,” which can vary widely. Supporters of the new legislation say a standard definition would provide a “reliable way to measure incidents, trends and the impact of reforms and strategies designed to save lives.”
“School shootings and mass shootings have become far too common in our country,” said McBath of Georgia. “There is currently no federal definition for a ‘school shooting’, but far too many of our youth have witnessed it firsthand. We must understand the extent of this heartbreaking tragedy before we can find the solutions necessary to resolve it, and I thank all those who continue to support us in the fight to end gun violence. “
“We will never loosen the grip of gun safety opponents on solving this public health crisis until we fully understand the carnage guns inflict on Americans, especially on our school campuses. “said Wasserman Schultz. “The more we know about the dangers guns pose to our classrooms, the more likely we are to prevent the next massacre of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas or Sandy Hook. Protecting students and teachers, and understanding the real dangers that guns face, is yet another political space where all parties can agree that we need to make swift and substantial progress. We just need the data to help identify trends and gaps, and then we can work to fix them. This legislation would lay a solid foundation for making schools safer. “
“The prevention of gun violence is a major concern for me and my constituents. Every day, we continue to see these tragedies occur and impact the safety of our schools. In 2018 and 2019, there were 24 and 25 school shootings, respectively. The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act is a key preventive measure that provides the framework for obtaining the data needed to be proactive, ”said Hayes. “By analyzing the history of school shootings, we can identify statistics on shootings and deaths; demographics of shooters and victims, motivations of shooters; firearms and ammunition acquired and used; and maintain a database, so that we can try to understand why this phenomenon continues to occur. “
This bill also directs the Department of Education to consult with the departments of Justice and of Health and Human Services to produce comprehensive annual reports on indicators of school safety, such as statistics on shootings and deaths. , demographics of shooters and victims, motivations of shooters, types of firearms and ammunition acquired and used, and more. It would also monitor prevention efforts, such as building design and communication and response plans.
A copy of the legislation is not yet available.