Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, Lucy McBath, and Jahana Hayes Urge House Vote on School Shooting Safety Bill
November 22, 2019
Washington, DC—Today, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Lucy McBath (GA-06), and Jahana Hayes (CT-05) called on Congressional leaders to support a House vote on H.R. 4301, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act. The bill would create a federal definition for “school shooting” and instructs the Department of Education, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, to annually report uniform data on indicators of school crime as it pertains to school shootings.
“Last week’s tragic shooting at Saugus High School is a chilling reminder that we must do more to prevent gun violence at our schools. To do that, we need to have a common understanding of the problem,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “The House must pass my School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act so that we have the school-specific data necessary to put forward evidence-based solutions.”
“Last week’s tragedy in Santa Clarita was another shooting in another community that will never be the same. When we introduced this bill, we did so because any instance of gun violence in a school is unacceptable,” said Rep. Lucy McBath. “Every day, it’s our duty to protect this nation’s children, work to understand the solutions to prevent unnecessary violence, and do all we can to stop school shootings.”
“Last week’s shooting in Santa Clarita was yet another message that we need to take action, now,” said Rep. Jahana Hayes. “The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act is the first step in that effort and it is long past time for the House to take a vote. The American people sent us here to do something - now is the time, before we lose more innocent children to gun violence.”
In addition to Reps. Gabbard, McBath, and Hayes, the bill has quickly gained 37 additional cosponsors and garnered the support of several violence prevention and education organizations.
“We have a collective responsibility to ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming places for teaching and learning. Fulfilling this duty will require a balanced approach that addresses both the physical safety and the emotional well-being of students, educators and school employees—an approach that includes comprehensive school safety programs and procedures, welcoming and supportive school environments, mental health supports and commonsense gun safety legislation. Finding this balance requires accurate data and information, not partisan politics cloaked in half-baked policy,” wrote Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers in the organization’s letter to the committee supporting the passage of the bill.
“For all the national talk about school shootings, we have surprisingly little reliable data about them. The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act is a good first step toward defining the crisis, which we hope will lead to specific and purposeful federal action to reduce—and ultimately eliminate—the threat of gun violence in our schools,” said JoAnn Bartoletti, Executive Director for the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
Background: In addition to the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Council of Great City Schools, and Sandy Hook Promise, the following groups also expressed their support for H.R. 4301, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act:
National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
American School Counselor Association
School Social Work Association
Newtown Action Alliance
Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action
National Association of School Psychologists
The bill currently has 36 additional cosponsors: Reps. Bonamici (OR-01), Cicilline (RI-01), Cuellar (TX-28), Davis (IL-07), DeFazio (OR-04), Desaulnier (CA-11), Dingell (MI-12), Eshoo (CA-18), Garcia (TX-29), Green (TX-09), Hastings (FL-20), Jayapal (WA-07), Khanna (CA-17), Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Larson (CT-01), Lee (NV-03), Levin (MI-09), Luria (VA-02), Matsui (CA-06), Meng (NY-06), Morelle (NY-25), Norton (DC-AtLarge), Omar (MN-05), Royball-Allard (CA-40), Sablan (MP-AtLarge), Schakowsky (IL-09), Schrader (OR-05), Sewell (AL-07), Sherman (CA-30), Soto (FL-09), Suozzi (NY-03), Takano (CA-41), Trahan (MA-03), Trone (MD-06), Underwood (IL-14), and Wilson (FL-24).
The House Education and Labor Committee voted to pass H.R. 4301 in September.
H.R. 4301 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 cover:
Statistics on School Shooting: tracks 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: tracks 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.
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 Hawaii’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 16 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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