- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The House on Wednesday easily passed a bill that would incentivize schools to develop threat assessment and safety plans, taking its first concrete steps to respond to last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla. on the one-month anniversary of the massacre.

The House voted 407-10 to pass the legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. John Rutherford, Florida Republican.

It allots $50 million in annual grants to local schools to help them develop threat assessment and response plans, as well as initiatives to try to flag early warning signs of students who might be a danger to themselves or others.

“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,” said Mr. Rutherford, a former Jacksonville sheriff.

The bill passed with broad bipartisan support, but Democrats said lawmakers must do more.

“The bill is fine as far as it goes, and we should certainly do more to make our schools safer,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “But it is shameful that we must do so because of our failure to reduce the threat of gun violence to children.”

Democrats are calling for enhancements to the gun-purchase background check system and for new measures to allow for special court orders to block potentially dangerous people from getting guns.

They also want a debate on banning military-style, semiautomatic rifles like the AR-15-style firearm authorities say alleged gunman Nikolas Cruz used to kill 17 students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High last month.

The vote came on the same day as a national “walkout” held by students to mark the one-month anniversary of the shooting and to try to keep up the pressure on lawmakers to act.

Some congressional Democrats joined the protesters in a demonstration outside the U.S. Capitol building.

“You are creating a drumbeat across America — a drumbeat that will echo until we get the job done,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the crowd.


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