US House passes school safety bill

Kansas legislators reject numerous gun-control measures

As students across the country protested congressional inaction on gun violence, the House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation to help schools identify potential threats - hours after an Federal Bureau of Investigation official told senators at a hearing about missed tips that pointed to the danger of the alleged Parkland, Fla. mass shooter. "The bill also provides for the creation of an anonymous reporting system to provide tips about potential attacks and persons who may be inclined to commit acts of violence on campus".

Though the bill passed with bipartisan support, House Democrats on Wednesday complained that lawmakers are not doing enough to stop gun violence.

The bill represents the first major vote on school safety since the February shooting in Parkland, but it was not originally a reaction to the massacre. 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.

One month after a mass shooting in Florida, students and advocates across the country participate in walkouts and protests to call on Congress for action.

Since the Florida shooting, the Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration have considered measures to curb gun violence while trying to avoid crossing the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group, or threatening the right to bear arms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.

The STOP School Violence Prevention Act authorizes 100 million dollars of grants a year, administered by the Justice Department, to train students, school staff, and police to identify signs of violence and intervene.

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. "And we must rally around consensus, evidenced-based solutions that will protect our nation's most valuable resource -- its youth -- from violent attacks".

The House is set to vote on the measure Wednesday.

The White House says President Donald Trump strongly supports a school safety bill that would help school officials and law enforcement identify and prevent violence in schools.

Both of Florida's senators - Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Bill Nelson - testified at the hearing.

Subgrants to state or local law enforcement agencies, schools, school districts, nonprofit organizations, or Indian tribal organizations to implement grants awarded under the bill.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. "When someone is determined that they're going to commit an act of violence, it could be in a school, it could be in a mall, it could be in a movie theater, it could be in an airport, it could be at a stadium".

"There are things that we agree on and the notion that we should do everything we can to put in place systems to identify and to stop someone before they commit an act of violence ... is something we can all agree one", Sen. She's hopeful that Congress will enact gun control laws.

"This important bill will help stop school violence before it happens", said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA-ILA.



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