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House Passes STOP School Violence Act One Month After Parkland Shooting

By Andrew Ujifusa — March 14, 2018 1 min read
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The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve the STOP School Violence Act, which aims to train teachers and other school staff in violence prevention and fund other programs to help stop incidents like the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

H.R. 4909 would reauthorize the Secure Our Schools grant program and authorize $50 million in funds annually from fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2028. It also includes a ban on any of the grant funds being used to train or provide school staff with firearms. The House passed the legislation by a vote of 407-10.

The bill passed the House exactly one month after 17 students and staff were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Its lead author is Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., but it had the backing of Democrats as well as Republicans.

There is also a version of the STOP School Violence Act in the Senate. The two bills are roughly similar but aren’t the same—the Senate STOP Act would authorize more money for the grant program, for example. But the Senate bill also bars grant funds from being used to “provide firearms or training in the use of firearms.” We explore differences between the two bills here.

The STOP bills in both chambers have bipartisan support, although they does not include new gun control measures, something congressional Democrats have been demanding since the Parkland shooting. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights called the bill “well intentioned” but not the right approach to address gun violence.

President Donald Trump has said he support states that want to arm school staff, and a new Florida law allows districts to arm some school employees and provide them with training. But the national teachers’ unions and others have opposed the idea, although some states do allow school staff to carry guns.

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