Washington, DC—Today, the School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act, or H.R. 4301, was voted out of the House Education and Labor Committee after being introduced last week by Reps. Lucy McBath (GA-06), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Jahana Hayes (CT-05). The bill will create a federal definition for “mass shooting” and “school shooting” and instruct the Department of Education, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, to annually report uniform data on indicators of school crime as it pertains to school shootings. The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act has quickly gained 20 cosponsors in the House, and has garnered the support of several organizations in both the gun violence prevention and education communities.
In a letter urging members of the House Education and Labor Committee to vote in favor of the bill, Marc Egan, the Director of Government Relations at the National Education Association 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.” Egan added, “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.”
“Congress must take a comprehensive and holistic approach to ending gun violence. One critical step to combating this epidemic is to have the data and research today that can drive the meaningful solutions of tomorrow. As you well know, there is currently no legal definition of ‘school shooting’ recognized by the federal government. H.R. 4301would create such a definition and codify it into federal law,” notes Sandy Hook Promise in its letter of support, adding, “Sandy Hook Promise is proud to support H.R. 4301, and we urge its swift passage.”
“Following the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Board of Directors of the Council of the Great City Schools unanimously passed a resolution committing our 76 member school districts to supporting a sweeping series of federal actions to curb the availability of assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition; increase federal assistance for school counselors, social workers, and intervention programs; provide aid for building security alterations; support coordination with other local agencies; promote firearm safety programs; AND collect data to track, monitor, understand, and prevent gun violence in America. H.R. 4301 takes a welcomed step forward in collecting and analyzing national data on all-too-frequent school shootings.” wrote the Council of Great City Schools in its statement of support.
Rep. Lucy McBath, member of the Education and Labor Committee, delivered these remarks in support of the legislation during the markup:
H.R. 4301 would:
- Create a federal definition for “mass shooting” and “school shooting,” establishing one standard definition in order to avoid subjective reporting of the circumstances surrounding these incidents.
- Require the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services, to publish annual reports on indicators of school crime. The reports would:
- Track the number of shootings, the number of people killed, demographics of shooters and victims, the motivation of shooters, types of firearms and ammunition used, how the firearm was acquired, and more.
- Track information on the existence or absence of safety and prevention measures at the time of the shooting, such as building designs, communication and response plans, and more.
In addition to the National Education Association, the Council of Great City Schools, and Sandy Hook Promise, H.R. 4301 is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), the American School Counselor Association, the School Social Work Association, the Newtown Action Alliance, Everytown for Gun Safety, and Moms Demand Action. The bill is currently cosponsored by Reps. Davis (IL-07), Desaulnier (CA-11), Garcia (TX-29), Green (TX-09), Jayapal (WA-07), Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Lee (NV-03), Levin (MI-09), Morelle (NY-25), Norton (DC-AtLarge), Omar (MN-05), Sablan (MP-AtLarge), Schrader (OR-05), Sewell (AL-07), Suozzi (NY-03), Takano (CA-41), Trahan (MA-03), Underwood (IL-14), and Wilson (FL-24)