FILE PHOTO: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol, hours before an expected vote to repeal Obamacare in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
The US 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.
“Congress actually took action today to not just do something but to start addressing the problem with a strong bill — the Stop School Violence Act that gives students, teachers and law enforcement more tools to actively identify a potential shooter before a tragedy,” Louisiana representative Steve Scalise said.
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.
Since that massacre, student protesters have successfully lobbied for tighter gun controls in Florida.
Hundreds of them gathered outside the capitol on Wednesday to take their argument to a US Congress that has long resisted placing new limits on firearms and gun sales.
“I came out here to let Congress know and let the president know that I want more thorough gun control and they should start to listen to us,” said Semret Hailie, a high school student.
“We’re we’re turning our backs against the people who won’t stand up for us. We’re hoping that will get their attention and they will start to represent what we’re fighting for,” said Catherine, a high school student at Potomac, Maryland.
The House bill does not address many of the gun control initiatives backed by students, teachers, and families of shooting victims at the Florida school.— Reuters