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Gun control: Will Congress act?
15 March 2018, 04:23 | Kelvin Horton
Gun control: Will Congress act?
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, which is backed by the NRA, would fund training for students, school personnel and law enforcement to detect early signs of violence. It would also help develop and implement anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence.
While the bill had bipartisan support, many Democrats were frustrated that it doesn't include any gun control measures.
"What you saw today was a 407 to 10 vote to specifically start addressing the problem to stop school violence", he said.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced a companion bill in the Senate, which also has bipartisan support.
Deputy FBI Director David Bowdich told a Senate committee that the agency "could have and should have done more" to investigate information it received prior to the February 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
"Why is it that when it comes to gun violence, which is responsible for just as many if not more deaths, we throw up our hands, we pretend there is no solution?"
The FBI has acknowledged it receive separate tips related to the accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz.
The STOP School Violence Act will offer $50 million annually to states to help train students, teachers and law enforcement to prevent violence and suicides in schools.
The funding would be distributed to states through grant money over 10 years.
The House is set to vote on the measure Wednesday.
Although the bill received overwhelming support, it sidestepped the more controversial demands for gun control.
President Donald Trump cheered the House vote, tweeting that lawmakers "took major steps toward securing our schools by passing the STOP School Violence Act".
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said there needs to be ways to intervene when people demonstrate they're unsafe.
"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.
Congresswoman Gabbard is a co-sponsor of H.R.4909, the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing or "STOP" School Violence Act. "But I'm anxious to pass both of them, and pass both of them soon".
And while there were no gun industry witnesses at the first hearing since the shooting, they loom large in the debate and play a critical role in lobbying members of Congress and rallying their supporters across the country during elections.
A similar "Fix NICS" proposal awaits consideration in the Senate, but it is being held up by Republicans opposed to potential curbs on due process rights and Democrats pushing for a broader debate on gun control. The statement calls the bill a good step.
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