Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Says GAO Report on Gun-Related Violence Shows Need to Pass School Shooting Safety Bill

July 16, 2020
Press Release
Washington, DC—Today, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) urged the House and Senate to pass H.R.4301, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act, following the recent release of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which examined gun violence data and the characteristics of school shootings in K-12 education. The bill would create, for the first time, a standard definition of school shootings so that more uniform data can be collected about these incidents and improve the ability of public officials and lawmakers to keep our children safe. 
“This report is just the latest example of how the collection of data is vital to efforts in Congress to help keep our kids safe in our schools,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Congress needs to move forward and pass my School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act so that we have a standard definition of school shootings and can collect information about the unfortunate rise of these shootings so that our kids, parents, and teachers can focus on education, rather than wondering if they will survive their day at school.” 
“When my son Jordan was murdered, I knew I had to do more to keep our children safe from gun violence. After the tragedy in Parkland, I ran for Congress to protect families like mine in Marietta, GA, because no family should ever have to feel that pain,” said Rep. Lucy McBath. “This GAO report tells us that the majority of mass school shootings in the last decade occurred in the South, in communities that look very much like Georgia’s Sixth District. We must do more to protect our families, and the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act would give us the information we need to help keep our schools, our children, and our communities safe.”
In covering the release of the GAO report, Education Week noted that “because there is no agreed-upon national definition of what constitutes a school shooting, the GAO had to create its own. It looked at any incident in which a gun was fired at school, on school grounds, events, or activities, or before or after those activities. This included accidents and suicides.”
Background: H.R. 4301, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act, would:
  • School Shooting Defined: Create a federal definition for “school shooting,” establishing one standard definition in order to avoid subjective reporting of the circumstances surrounding these incidents.
  • School Crime and Safety Report: Require the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, to publish annual reports on indicators of school crime. The reports would include:
    • Statistics on School Shooting: Tracking the number of shootings, the number of people killed, demographics of shooters and victims, the motivation of shooters, types of firearms and ammunition used, how the firearm was acquired, and more.
    • Safety and Prevention: Tracking information on the existence or absence of safety and prevention measures at the time of the shooting, such as building designs, communication and response plans, and more.
Reps. Gabbard, McBath, and Hayes introduced the bill in September 2019 and it quickly gained support both on and off Capitol Hill. It was passed by the House Education and Labor Committee later that month. They have called on Congress to pass the bill.
In addition Reps. Gabbard, McBath, and Hayes, the bill is cosponsored by 48 Members of Congress and is supported by these groups:
  • National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
  • American School Counselor Association
  • School Social Work Association
  • National Association of School Psychologists
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a strong advocate for common sense gun violence prevention policy — including state grant funds for evidence-based school safety programs. She has supported bipartisan legislation to establish universal background checks, banning bump stocks and assault weapons, as well as measures to prevent the 3D printing of guns.
These include the Gun Show Loophole Closing Act, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Act, the Keeping Guns from High Risk Individuals Act, the Assault Weapons Ban, the Support Assault Firearms Elimination and Reduction for our Streets Act, the Domestic Violence Loophole Closure Act, the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act, and more.
About Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is serving her fourth term in the United States House representing Hawai‘i’s Second District, and serves on the House Armed Services and Financial Services Committees. She previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She was elected to the Honolulu City Council in 2010, and prior to that at age 21, was elected to the Hawaiʻi State Legislature in 2002, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. Tulsi Gabbard has served in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard for over 17 years, is a veteran of two Middle East deployments, and continues to serve as a Major. Learn more about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard...
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