U.S. House passes bill to help schools combat gun violence

From Reuters - March 14, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed legislation to help schools and local law enforcement prevent gun violence, one month after the mass shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 people.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 407-10, sending it to the Senate for consideration.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House announced President Donald Trumps support of the bill, which is far short of the broader gun control legislation he talked about shortly after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Since that massacre, student protesters have successfully lobbied for tighter gun controls in Florida. Hundreds of them gathered outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to take their argument to a Congress that has long resisted placing new limits on firearms and gun sales.

The House-passed bill would authorize federal grants, totaling $50 million a year, to fund training, anonymous reporting systems, threat assessments, intervention teams and school and police coordination.

The measure, however, would not allow any of the funding to be used for arming teachers or other school personnel. The White House said the legislation would be improved by lifting that restriction.

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, and this bill aims to do just that, said Republican Representative John Rutherford of Florida, a former sheriff who sponsored the school safety bill.

It was not yet clear when the Senate would take up the House-passed bill.

Already awaiting action in the Senate is a bill to strengthen existing background checks of gun purchasers. It enjoys broad bipartisan support but has not been scheduled for debate.


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