U.S. Reps. 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 filed, legislation that will allow the public and policy makers to “more accurately assess gun violence on school campuses and work toward solutions to keep children safe,” lawmakers say.
The law would also define ‘school shooting,’ a term which does not currently exist in federal law. Policy makers rely on media reports of ‘school shootings,’ which can vary widely. The backers of this new legislation say a standard definition would have 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 not currently a federal definition for a ‘school shooting,’ yet far too many of our young people have witnessed one firsthand. We must understand the extent of this heartbreaking tragedy before we can find the solutions necessary to solve it, and I thank all those who continue to stand with us in the fight to end gun violence.”
“We will never loosen the chokehold opponents of gun safety have on solving this public health crisis until we fully understand the carnage that firearms inflict on Americans, especially on our school campuses,” said Wasserman Schultz. “The more we know about the dangers that guns pose to our classrooms, the more likely we are to prevent the next Marjorie Stoneman Douglas or Sandy Hook massacre. Protecting students and teachers, and understanding the real dangers they face from firearms, is yet one more political space where all sides can agree that we need to make swift, substantial progress. We just need the data to help identify trends and gaps, and then we can work toward solving it. This legislation would build a sturdy foundation to make schools safer.”
“Gun violence prevention is a top concern for me, and my constituents. Every day we continue to see these tragedies occur impacting 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 prevention measure providing the framework to obtain the data needed to be pro-active,” said Hayes. “By analyzing the history of school shootings, we can identify shooting and fatality statistics; shooter and victim demographics, shooter motivations; the firearms and ammunition acquired and used; and maintain a database, so we can attempt to get to the core of why this phenomenon continues to occur.”
This bill also directs the Department of Education to consult with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to produce comprehensive annual reports on school safety indicators, such as shooting and fatality statistics, shooter and victim demographics, shooter motivations, the types of firearms and ammunition acquired and used, and more. It would also track prevention efforts, such as building designs, and communication and response plans.
A copy of the legislation is not yet available.