U.S. Senators Announce Bipartisan Deal on School Safety and Gun Measures
A group of both Republican and Democratic U.S. Senators struck a deal over the weekend on gun-related safety measures in an effort to help prevent future mass shootings like the one in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed in their elementary school.
The deal, which to date has not been put into law, includes funding for states to implement “red flag” laws that allow individuals to petition courts to keep firearms away from people considered a risk to themselves or others. Police, family members and coworkers are some of the individuals who can petition a state court to order the temporary removal of the firearms from the person in question. A judge would ultimately make the determination of whether or not to issue the order.
Currently, 19 states have red flag laws, including New York.
“Our bipartisan bill provides a big boost to law enforcement to stop the flow of illegal guns into our cities,” Democratic Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, posted Monday on Twitter. “Urban mayors have been begging for years for new federal criminal statute on gun trafficking and straw purchasing, and our plan includes it.”
The Gun Measures and Safety Deal Package
Additional parts of the Senate’s gun-related safety deal include:
- Billions in new funding for school safety and mental health resources
- Expanded background checks for gun purchases for those ages 18-21
- Federal law against gun trafficking and straw purchasing
- A provision to address the “boyfriend loophole” on domestic violence. This would include dating partners in preventing convicted domestic abusers from purchasing a gun.
In the days before the announcement, New York City lawmakers reached a budget deal that would include a cut of approximately $215 million across public schools. New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ office did not respond to an inquiry on whether or not the cuts would impact safety measures for schools.
However, the mayor released a statement expressing support of the Senate deal. “If enacted, this framework would be an important step in the right direction, and one of the few productive measures Congress has taken in decades towards ending the scourge of gun violence facing our city and country,” the mayor said.
What Moms Are Saying
Moms Demand Action, an organization that works to find solutions to address gun violence, expressed support of the deal.
“The Senate’s bipartisan gun violence prevention framework will save lives,” the organization posted Monday on Twitter. “We demand they act with the urgency this crisis deserves to avoid more lives stolen from us.”
In Texas, the organization received more than 20,000 new supporters after the Uvalde tragedy, according to NPR.
Here in NYC, Caren Schagren Cooper, a mom of two who lives on Staten Island, is skeptical of the Senate deal, but agrees that more action needs to be taken, especially when it comes to mental health issues.
“They can make proposals all they want, people are still going to get the guns, because there’s always a way,” Cooper said. “This is still going to happen. Every school shooting since Sandy Hook there has been something wrong with the perpetrator’s mental health. Obviously, mental health is something that needs to be looked into. ‘If you see something, say something’ is what needs to happen, in my opinion. Let’s address the mental health issues in this world. Let’s address the actual child, what’s going on and follow through, and more training for law enforcement to recognize an active shooter, and more training for the public to recognize a problem.”
Linda Acevedo, a NYC public school teacher and mom of two, says she believes in the basics of the second amendment, but wants to see a ban on assault rifles and large capacity magazine clips.
“In this day and age, there is no reason why and average citizen should hae access to weapons whose sole purpose is to murder as many people as possible,” Acevedo said. We have police officers and military who are trained to protect and serve, and I place my faith in those brave souls.”
Acevedo underscored the importance of mental health, too.
“We need to stop making it so easy for those who are distrubed to kill so many and so quickly,” she added.
Resources and Tips for Parents
Parents interested in joining the effort to end gun violence can do so in a variety of ways. From calling on local representatives to donating to charities that focus on the cause, there are many ways to get involved.
- Text BOLD to 644-33. This is part of the Don’t Look Away campaign organized by Everytown for Gun Safety.
- Donate to organizations that work to end gun violence, including the Sandy Hook Promise. This organization was founded by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
- If you have a firearm at home, such as in the case of parents who work in law enforcement, make sure it is away from children at all times. One way is to keep your gun a lock box, and ammunition in a separate box. Make sure the trigger is locked, too.
- Help is available for parents who suspect their child may be suffering from a mental health issue. New York City offers a variety of resources and services for child and adolescent mental health. Many private insurance companies and nonprofit organizations offer services, too.
If you are concerned that your child or anyone else you know may have thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevetnion Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK). The website Speaking of Suicide, also offers a variety of ways to get help.