As an added measure to combat gun violence that continues to plague the country, the House passed the Active Shooter Alert Act to create a communication network to notify the public if an active shooter is in their neighborhood, NBC news reports. This comes off the heels of representatives passing the ‘Protecting Our Kids Act’ that would change the assault rifle purchase age from 18 to 21.
A couple of weeks ago, the House tried to pass it through a fast track option, allowing the bill to advance with only two-thirds support. However, in only gaining a 259-162 vote, a full vote was needed.
Although the statistics showing death by firearms is now the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 17, the House vote for the bill was not unanimous. With the 260-169 vote, 168 House Republicans voted against the bill, including one Democrat. Forty three Republicans voted for the Active Shooter Alert system. As The Hill mentions, the measure was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Police Foundation, among other groups.
The alert system consists of several factors, starting with the Department of Justice. The Attorney General will designate an officer at the Department of Justice to be a national coordinator of the communications network. This person will be responsible for encouraging federal, state, and local government agencies to take steps to react to active shooter situations.
Steps will not only pertain to school jurisdictions, however. The programs will also include travel across states and jurisdictions, including airports, border crossing locations, and checkpoints. In addition to these measures, the selected officer will write a report to show how effective the program is and what adjustments states can make to
As many people would agree, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said that passing these measures was “common sense.”
“This bill helps do that in a simple, effective way. It’s not complicated,” he said during debate on the House floor. “It simply adds a tool to the tool belt of law enforcement all across the country, regardless of their size or location, to be used voluntarily.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke about the overwhelming amount of Republicans who voted against creating this AMBER-alert style system.
“Our Active Shooter Alert Act, which was overwhelmingly opposed by Republicans today, would help law enforcement send out AMBER-style alerts when a gunman opens fire: ensuring passersby do not unknowingly walk into a dangerous area,” Pelosi said.
“But today, House Republicans overwhelming and inexplicably voted to oppose the needs of law enforcement heroes and to keep this crucial, life-saving information away from our communities,” she added.
The Active Shooter Alert Act now faces an uncertain future where it’s doubtful that ten Republican senators will vote for it.