Mar 14, 2018, 3:34 PM ET

House passes STOP School Violence Act


As tens of thousands of students walked out of their schools to demand action to prevent gun violence on Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the first gun-related measure since the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting last month.

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In a bipartisan vote of 407-10, lawmakers approved the STOP School Violence Act, which provides federal grants intended to make schools safer. Five Democrats and five Republicans voted against the measure.

The bill authorizes $50 million per year for grants administered by the Department of Justice to fund training and other initiatives intended to enhance school safety, and $25 million annually for physical improvements such as metal detectors, stronger locks, and emergency notification and response technologies for schools to notify law enforcement of emergencies.

Lawmakers said consideration of the bill, formally titled ‘The Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018,’ was in direct response to the Parkland shooting.

The bill now heads to the Senate for possible consideration.

Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., a former sheriff and a lead sponsor of the bill, said the measure “focuses on strengthening a very important layer” to school security.

“There is still much work to be done, but the best way to keep our students and teachers safe is to give them the tools and the training to recognize the warning signs to prevent violence from ever entering our school grounds,” Rutherford said. “And this bill aims to do just that.”

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump “applauds” the House for sending the bill to the Senate, calling the measure an “important step towards keeping American students safe.”

“It is critical that we strengthen our laws in order to aid our law enforcement, address the needs of individuals struggling with serious mental illness, and develop proactive strategies for identifying and preventing violence in schools,” Sanders stated. “This Administration is pleased with the progress we have made toward securing our schools over the last few weeks alone, and looks forward to working with the Senate to protect America’s students.”

Despite the widespread bipartisan vote, Democrats urged Republicans to vote on additional measures to prevent gun violence, such as universal background checks.

“Today young people across the country are taking a stand and calling upon this Congress to do something about the scourge of gun violence that has terrorized our schools and our streets for too long. This bill fails to do so and it should not – it cannot – be our only response to their demands,” Nadler, D-N.Y., said. “We must make schools safer, but the best way to do that is to do more to prevent gun violence from occurring in the first place. Congress must do more to stop gun violence. It is not enough to say that staff and students must do more to protect themselves.”

The grants are also available for “training to prevent student violence against others and self, including training for local law enforcement officers, school personnel, and students.” The bill does not, however, provide funding to arm teachers with firearms, though Democrats complained that the legislative text does not explicitly prohibit arming teachers.

“Because President Trump and others in his Administration have indicated that they believe arming teachers is part of the solution to this problem, it was important to my colleagues and me that we be assured that this program, at least, will not be used for such a purpose which would actually endanger students, not make them safer,” Nadler said.

The bill would also allow for the development and operation of anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence, including mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and internet websites. Nadler, who voted in favor of the bill, further warned the legislation lacks due process protections for students against whom a report is made.

The House passed legislation on Dec. 6 – the Conceal Carry Reciprocity Act, which reformed the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and allowed gun owners with concealed carry permits from one state to carry them in another. The measure also contained another provision requiring a DOJ report to Congress on bump stocks.

The Senate, however, is working to advance alternative legislation dealing only with background checks.

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  • Jen

    When do we get to see evidence that this Cruz guy was actually the shooter ?

  • mikevietvet68/69

    why would this network or any media outlet not tell the people who voted against this bill so we can show them the way out of d.c.the media is as phony as the cabinet trump hired.

  • Fermer Votre Bouche

    So Trump was right about one thing (and I really hate to admit that): The GOP are afraid of the NRA.

  • wendy s. king

    My condolences to everyone caught up in Trump's nastiness. Those situations are always so upsetting. Here is his pattern: government take over by waiting till someone is out of station and then firing them, insulting them if they try to get home again, forbidding them to use the transportation of their office if he can catch them just right so they can't get home again, even removing people who have served him well from their clothing and materials of office, and sending them off into the universe basically naked, and without their pensions, if he can finagle it. What a despicable, petty, power hungry guy! Like a game of chess, he is taking one position after another, moving them into place where he can call the shots, and then taking them out. Clearing the board for something else. What? First the FBI, Now the State Department, and watch him move to do it to the CIA and again to the FBI. Everyone he is moving close to him, he is going to fire. Move the next one up into position, and take that also. Little by little he is clearing the board of all the experienced actors so he has a clean slate of inexperienced, and then the final takeover blow will fall.

  • C. Gray

    Arming teachers is, well, kinda silly. Does anyone really think gunfights in schools make kids safer?
    The bad guy has the advantage of being able to shoot indiscriminately. The teacher has to be careful to only shoot the bad guy, without getting shot herself. This also means the teacher has to go after the bad guy, or wait till he shows up. The bad guy has the advantage of surprise and flexibility. He can shoot through the door without opening it.
    This isn’t Hollywood, or TV.
    The smart thing to do is first, do everything you can to keep bad guys from getting guns in the first place. How to do this is a separate discussion, but it should be the first thing discussed. It would help reduce all kinds of gun violence, not just school shootings.
    After all, you don’t just stick a gun under your pillow, and leave your doors unlocked. You try to avoid needing to use a gun in the first place.
    The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is before he gets one.

  • BeastBob

    Just allow teachers and students to carry concealed weapons!!! The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun!!!!

  • AmazingItsNotOverYet

    Locking your car doors does not prevent someone from stealing your car if they really want to do it. Gun control opponents must never bother locking their cars...

  • mearcatt

    what would posses the ten who still voted no to this? you want a bipartisan effort? here's one right here, and the ten who voted against should be voted out immediately. notice it was 5 from each party.

  • novamcln

    So if the students are 'trained' in self defense, doesn't that mean they're also training better crazies who want to add hand to hand combat to their mass shooting if they drop their gun or run out of ammo?