(Source: Fox Business)
Amidst the demands to enact so-called common-sense gun regulations, eight Republican lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that is actually an example of common sense.
Led by U.S. Sen Roger Marshall of Kansas, the group is putting forth a bill that would use unspent COVID-19 funds to bolster school security. Evidently, there is as much as $150 billion available to devote to this effort.
In addition to seven GOP senators who are pushing the “Safe Schools Act,” U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) has put forth a companion bill in the House. The available COVID cash would pay for security improvements such as video surveillance, metal detectors, armed school resource officers, and emergency notification systems.
“While we made some progress in previous legislation to make our schools stronger, harder, and safer, certainly there is more that can and must be done immediately to protect kids,” Marshall, a medical doctor, told Fox News. “What happened in Uvalde was a horrific tragedy. While many have been quick to play politics, one thing we can all agree on is that Congress must act to harden schools. For these reasons, I am introducing this legislation that allows the abundance of unused COVID relief dollars to be diverted to secure schools in Kansas and throughout the nation.”
Marshall provided further context on his bill during a conversation Thursday with Maria Bartiromo on the Fox Business program “Mornings with Maria.”
“We’re all still mourning with the people of Uvalde. But one thing we can do, one thing we all agree upon, is we can make our schools more secure. So I’m proud of what we did under President Trump. Most of the schools became more secure. They made one entrance for everybody, but there needs to be of a more layered approach now; we need now to place the second and third layer of protection for the schools,” Marshall explained.
“So there’s $150 billion of unused school money from the COVID relief packages. So this would allow the schools to go back and maybe put video surveillance, they could put some type of panic buzzer, they could secure each room individually as well. So we’re going to be introducing that on the Senate side today and, hopefully, we’ll get a path forward, and help keep our kids safer,” he added.
Bartiromo wondered why these upgrades haven’t already happened. “All of this money went to the teachers’ unions a year ago. What did they do with the money; why aren’t they securing our schools?”
“Well, Maria, I don’t have a good answer for that,” Marshall admitted. “There’s a lot of money that’s not been used, over $150 billion. They spent about $50 billion; there’s $150 billion left, Then there were constraints on how they could spend the money, so what our legislation would do [is] expand it, give the schools more flexibility. That’s a constant theme I hear back home in town halls is ‘give us more flexibilities.’ Don’t micromanage from Washington D.C. How we would keep a school safe in my hometown in…Kansas may be different than how you would do in Manhattan.”
By a vote of 223-204, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House on Wednesday passed a package of eight gun control bills collectively known as the “Protecting Our Kids Act.”
“The bills contain proposals to raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic weapon from 18 to 21, ban ‘high-capacity magazines,’ establish a registry for bump stocks and more,” Fox News explained.
The House is also expected momentarily to pass a national red flag law.
According to CBS, “it is unlikely to win approval by the 50-50 Senate, where 60 votes are needed for bills to overcome a filibuster and advance. In the upper chamber, a bipartisan group of senators have been working on a more tailored plan to curb gun violence, and negotiators are aiming to reach consensus on a measure by the end of the week. At least 10 senators huddled Wednesday to discuss gun reforms.”
In general, critics have argued, moreover, that feel-good new laws will largely be ineffective in preventing gun violence, including school shootings, while intruding on the Second Amendment.
Last Sunday, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told CNN that senators were “closer than ever before” to achieving a compromise gun-reform package, whatever that winds up meaning.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that lawmakers in the Senate are “hoping to actually get an outcome that will make a difference in the areas of mental health, school safety and things that are related to the incidents that occurred in Texas and Buffalo.”
One school board in New Jersey is not waiting for help from Washington. It plans to hire retired cops to protect all 16 educational facilities in the district.
NJ school district employs retired cops to protect schools, parent says all ‘agree’ with policy https://t.co/vQHxL80lZV
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) June 8, 2022
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