The U.S. House of Representatives approved spending more money on metal detectors, locks and other school security measures on Wednesday, but took no steps to tighten gun control laws a month after a Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people. It would also fund threat assessments and "anonymous reporting systems" such as phone apps, hotlines and websites for threats of school violence.
But critics say the bill falls short on meaningful gun control measures that Democrats have sought to curb mass shootings in Parkland, Florida, Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Las Vegas.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R, added at a weekly GOP news conference that Rutherford's bill "will not be the only bill" passed to address school violence. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced companion legislation in the Senate, where it was met with similarly broad, bipartisan support.
Sanders says the US needs to strengthen laws to help law enforcement, deal with mental health problems and find ways to prevent violence in schools.
Since the shooting, the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted that it had received several tips that Cruz meant to commit a violent act or was displaying disturbing behavior, but the agency failed to investigate the claims.More news: Superman Fan Nicolas Cage To Voice Character In Teen Titans Go! Film
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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.
"This legislation helps protect our Nation's youth and educators by authorizing State-based grants that will support evidence-based violence prevention programs", Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Protesters are demonstrating at the Capitol and in front of the White House on Wednesday. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said more and more families are being victimized by mass shootings since a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons she authored expired in 2004. The legislation, backed by President Donald Trump, includes no gun-related provisions.
Subgrants to state or local law enforcement agencies, schools, school districts, nonprofit organizations, or Indian tribal organizations to implement grants awarded under the bill. While the bill now has more than 60 cosponsors - a normal indicator that it could avoid a filibuster - many Democrats want to open up the legislation to amendments, and it's unclear how Republican leaders will proceed. "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. But I'm anxious to pass both of them, and pass both of them soon". "There may not be one single answer to preventing all future violence in schools, but this effort is very much a part of the solution". She's hopeful that Congress will enact gun control laws.
Congressional aides said discussions were underway about folding the school safety and background check bills into a government funding bill that lawmakers want to pass by March 23.