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house Bill H.R. 4301

Should There be a Federal Definition of ‘School Shooting’ & Annual Report on School Crime?

Argument in favor

Developing a better understanding of school shootings is an important first step in developing policies to make schools safer and prevent these tragedies. Creating a federal definition of “school shooting” and requiring an annual report on associated school crimes would help inform policy that affects school shootings. This would in turn lead to policies that are more effective at keeping students safe.

Kathi13's Opinion
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11/16/2019
Better yet, find and implement methods to stop school shootings.
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Rebekah 's Opinion
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11/16/2019
The Republicans stopped all research into gun fatalities as payment for NRA donations years ago. Now that we’re having a massacre a week, it’s about time we do. All the other countries have mental illness, video games, and angry people but only we allow them guns that spray bullets like water. Coincidence?
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Chris's Opinion
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11/16/2019
Seriously?! We have to define a school shooting? How about passing some comprehensive gun legislation which is wanted by more than 90% of the people in this country including gun owners!!
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Argument opposed

This bill is a band-aid solution that won’t actually do anything to address the problem of school shootings. The causes of school shootings are already understood enough to develop policies to address them. Rather than wasting the federal government’s time and resources on yet more reports on this issue, it’d be better to develop and implement policies to actually keep students safe.

Jim2423's Opinion
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11/16/2019
I am sorry but there is no more respect for each other. This is parents failure. No kid should ever have access to weapons, no kid should be bullying, parents supply the guns for school shootings so where are the gun safes. Where is respect for each other? We don’t need more laws we need parents enforcing the Golden Rules. Also feds, states and cities need to stop tax breaks on businesses and contractors. We are running short of tax money by giving tax breaks just to make someone rich. All this leads to over crowding schools, teachers lack of substantial pay. With both parents working to make ends meet, no adult supervision when a child goes to school or when they cone home. Our system as a whole is failing. This is one of many end results.
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davidf's Opinion
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11/16/2019
Gabbard has it upside down. Increased violence, bullying, depression, anger and all the other dynamics that accompany school shootings are not going to be addressed by a legal and political definition. The increase in violence in schools, the increasing problems with depression and other mental health problems, the increasing frequency of school shootings, all these have accompanied the increasing wealth inequality in our country. I know this flies in the face of “common sense” and blame the victim mentalities so common in this country. I suggest you look at the research dating back to the middle 1800’s.
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JTJ's Opinion
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11/16/2019
No, school violence can only be effectively handled at the local level. The federal government has proven that its interference is a detriment to our schools. Get the government out of education entirely.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4301?

This bill — the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act — would create a federal definition of a “school shooting.” This would create a single standard definition of such incidents in order to avoid subjective reporting of the circumstances surrounding these events. It would also create an annual School Crime and Safety Report, to be compiled by the Secretary of Education in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS Secretary), which is described in greater detail below. 

This report would cover indicators of school crime, including:

  • Statistics on school shootings, including the number of shootings, number of people killed, demographics of shooters and victims, shooters’ motivations, types of firearms and ammunition used, and how the firearm was acquired.
  • Safety and prevention tactics, such as the existence (or lack thereof) of safety and prevention measures at the time of the shooting (including building designs and communication and response plans).

Impact

Schools; school shootings; federal report on school crime; Attorney General; Secretary of Education; and Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4301

$1.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost less than $500,000 each year, and $1 million over the 2020-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced this bill to create a federal definition for “school shooting” and instruct the Depts. of Education (ED), Justice (DOJ), and Health and Human Services (HHS) to annually report uniform data on indicators of school crime as it pertains to school shootings: 

“Classrooms should be a safe place where parents can have peace of mind that their children will be safe and free to learn. This legislation will help us to gather objective data to better understand how we can come together to prevent the tragedy of mass shootings occurring in our schools.”

In a letter to her Congressional colleagues seeking cosponsors for this bill, Rep. Gabbard writes that this bill would “lay the groundwork necessary to provide uniform data to the American people who grapple with the recurring horror of school shootings as well as policymakers who are responsible for addressing this problem.” She adds, “While thoughts and prayers may help cope with the grief suffered by victims’ families, data-driven policy solutions are needed to help prevent these crimes.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) adds

"This bill begins to address a serious problem born of inaction. We can’t manage a problem that we have not measured. It is critical that we gather as much information as possible to prevent future school shootings. I commend Reps. Gabbard and McBath for their efforts in this regard."

The National Education Association (NEA) supports this bill. In a September 17, 2019 letter urging members of the House Education and Labor Committee to vote for this bill, NEA Director of Government Relations Marc Egan wrote: 

“NEA members support the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act because it takes a number of steps to track and categorize these tragic incidents, yielding valuable information that will help us safeguard school communities. Gun violence destabilizes us all; no one—least of all children—should have to endure it. We must do all we can to stop the next school shooting from happening. The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act will help us learn more about these horrific incidents so that we can prevent them.”

This legislation passed the House Education and Labor Committee by a 27-22 vote with the support of 38 Democratic House cosponsors.

A number of gun control and education advocacy organizations, including Everytown for Gun Safety, the National Education Association (NEA), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Sandy Hook Promise, and Council of Great City Schools support this legislation.


Of NoteIn a December 2018 report, the Federal Commission on School Safety recommended increasing school safety through intergovernmental cooperation and school safety and crisis training. It did not address firearms.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Moussa81)

AKA

School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act

Official Title

To require the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to publish an annual report on indicators of school crime and safety that includes data on school shootings, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
    IntroducedSeptember 12th, 2019
    Better yet, find and implement methods to stop school shootings.
    Like (76)
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    I am sorry but there is no more respect for each other. This is parents failure. No kid should ever have access to weapons, no kid should be bullying, parents supply the guns for school shootings so where are the gun safes. Where is respect for each other? We don’t need more laws we need parents enforcing the Golden Rules. Also feds, states and cities need to stop tax breaks on businesses and contractors. We are running short of tax money by giving tax breaks just to make someone rich. All this leads to over crowding schools, teachers lack of substantial pay. With both parents working to make ends meet, no adult supervision when a child goes to school or when they cone home. Our system as a whole is failing. This is one of many end results.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    The Republicans stopped all research into gun fatalities as payment for NRA donations years ago. Now that we’re having a massacre a week, it’s about time we do. All the other countries have mental illness, video games, and angry people but only we allow them guns that spray bullets like water. Coincidence?
    Like (30)
    Follow
    Share
    Gabbard has it upside down. Increased violence, bullying, depression, anger and all the other dynamics that accompany school shootings are not going to be addressed by a legal and political definition. The increase in violence in schools, the increasing problems with depression and other mental health problems, the increasing frequency of school shootings, all these have accompanied the increasing wealth inequality in our country. I know this flies in the face of “common sense” and blame the victim mentalities so common in this country. I suggest you look at the research dating back to the middle 1800’s.
    Like (21)
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    Gun control please
    Like (17)
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    No, school violence can only be effectively handled at the local level. The federal government has proven that its interference is a detriment to our schools. Get the government out of education entirely.
    Like (12)
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    Share
    Seriously?! We have to define a school shooting? How about passing some comprehensive gun legislation which is wanted by more than 90% of the people in this country including gun owners!!
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Developing a better understanding of school shootings is an important first step in developing policies to make schools safer and prevent these tragedies. Creating a federal definition of “school shooting” and requiring an annual report on associated school crimes would help inform policy that affects school shootings. This would in turn lead to policies that are more effective at keeping students safe. Sneaky Pete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻. 11.15.19.........
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    How about repealing, “The Dickey Amendment” and provide funding to the CDC to track and examine GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA? How about passing some real gun control legislation and actually address GUN VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
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    If schools have a school shooting then they have already failed. The emphasis should be on helping the young avoid becoming anti social and prone to violence. Stop fixating on the manifestation of anti social behavior and start changing school environments to help youngsters at risk.
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    No because Democrats will define it as one person shot by a marshmallow gun.
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    Yes. Gun violence is an epidemic
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    Good idea - keep statistics on gun crimes.
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    It's clear that we don't really know what causes school shootings, because we've still done nothing to stop them. We haven't reduced gun availability, we haven't improved mental health for teens, we haven't provided resources for schools to counsel and proactively prevent these events, and we haven't stopped glorifying killers in the media. I support this if it will help us to better understand these events and investigate the real root causes, because right now Congress is doing nothing.
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    I’m almost 58 years old. When I was in elementary school I NEVER IN MY LIFE worried about crazy people having ASSAULT WEAPONS and shooting IN OCENT CHILDREN and ADULTS! Was life ‘ perfect’! FAR from it BUT we did not have SCHOOL SHOOTINGS! WTF happened to OUR country? 🥺 TODAY, WE defend RED or BLUE instead of RED, WHITE, and BLUE! 🇺🇸WE- ALL OF US-are AMERICANS! This is OUR COUNTRY!! This is a “ FAR CRY” from the country WE ALL WANT.
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    Too many times our guns have gotten in the hands of our depressed children, and too many times our depressed children have shot our innocent and harmless children and colleagues, who has had no involvement with their depression. Too many times our politicians try to defend the ownership of guns and try to enforce nothing gets done while our children, our friends, our families and colleagues continuously keep dying because of our depressed children owning guns. I hope y’all understand the symbolism of my repetition of “our”.
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    I believe that this is a small effort to address a huge problem. Great...statistics...then what? There is a huge mental health problem exasperated by the current pall of negativity in our country that is also affecting our children and our future. Statistics don’t address the core problem. Neither does the pervasive amount of available weapons...
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    There needs to be something done. I believe that school violence is partly a school failure but mostly a parent failure. Schools are not parents and the way the teachers and school administrators hands are tied by parents how can they even teach let alone raise children.
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    There needs to be a strict military weapons ban. Period. Then—bring back a fully-funded Community Mental Health system nationwide similar to what we had until Reagan and fellow Republicans gutted that program. Then begin classes in schools and churches that teach tolerance, acceptance, compassion and empathy. Quit testing school students with incessant waste of time tests and teach critical thinking and communication skills—particularly increasing non-competitive arts programs. Finally—gut the cruel Capitalism that has gripped America. However—this is a time in which many Americans have chosen to DO NOTHING except make weapons manufacturers wealthier and bolster the insanity of the new NRA that has become all about profit.
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    Yes, but only with a clearly stated vision and purpose. Report writing for the sake of report writing does little good for the American people.
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