Federal School Safety Commission Proposes Fixing Mental Health Laws, Adopting Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Melanie Arter | December 19, 2018 | 11:50am EST
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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18: U.S. President Donald Trump leads a roundtable discussion on school safety and the new Federal Commission on School Safety report with family members of shooting victims, along with state and local officials, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House on December 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) – During a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the Federal Commission on School Safety’s report on preventing school shootings, President Donald Trump announced the progress his administration is making on the issue, including congressional passage of the Fix NICS act and the STOP School Violence Act, and the Justice Department’s new regulation banning bump stocks.

The Federal Commission on School Safety also released its report Tuesday on ways to protect students and prevent school shootings.

“My administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to address school violence. We enacted two critical reforms into law. The Fix NICS Act, which you know about, which strengthens very strongly the background checks for firearm purchases, and the STOP School Violence Act, which provides grants to schools to improve safety,” he said.

The president said his administration has “also secured historic levels of funding to give schools and police more resources to protect their students.”

Furthermore, Trump touted among other things, the No Notoriety campaign, which encourages the media not to publicize the names of the alleged shooters.


“Today, we are reviewing the recommendations put forward by the School Safety Commission. These include fixing mental health laws so that families and law enforcement can get treatment immediately to those who need it; encouraging states to adopt extreme risk protection orders, which give law enforcement and family members more authority to keep firearms out of the hands of those who pose a danger to themselves and to others; launching a No Notoriety campaign, which would encourage the media not to use the names or, frankly, anything having to do with the shooters,” he said.

“I see it all the time. They make these people famous, and they're not famous. They're opposite. They're horrible, horrible people. I think that's a very important one -- No Notoriety campaign,” the president added.

Trump also stressed the need for armed school personnel.

“According to the Department of Homeland Security, the average duration of an active shooter incident at a school is under five minutes. All of this horrible carnage takes place in a very short period of time. That is why it's critical to have armed personnel available at a moment's notice,” he said.

“These are people -- teachers, in many cases -- that are the highest trained that you can get, people that are natural to firearms, people that know how to handle them, people that have great experience and, on top of the experience, have taken courses, and they're right on the site,” the president said.

“This is critical to the hardening of our schools against attack. Also they love our students. I've seen the teachers. I've seen so many of them, over the last two years especially where something has happened, and they truly love their students, and, by loving their students, they want to fight for their students more than anybody else would,” Trump added.

Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who also attended the roundtable discussion, announced that the DOJ “has prosecuted more gun crimes this year than ever before.”

“And, in addition, today, we faithfully have followed your leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, are illegal. We all remember what happened in Las Vegas on October 1st, and I don’t have to recount that horrific day, but, you know, the shooter that day used a bump stock to accelerate the carnage that was inflicted,” he said.

“The final rule that was signed today, the Department of Justice clarified that bump-stock-type devices are machine guns and are prohibited by federal law, and anyone possessing these bump stock devices have about 90 days to either destroy them or turn them into an ATF field office before this rule becomes final and it’s enforced,” Whitaker added, calling it “a big victory” for the Trump administration.

As CNSNews.com reported, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the bump stock ban at Tuesday’s White House press briefing prior to the roundtable discussion on school safety.

“On another note, the president is once again fulfilling a promise he made to the American people, and this morning, the acting attorney general signed the final rule, making clear that bump stocks are illegal because they fall within the definition of machine guns that are banned under federal firearms law,” she said.

“A 90-day period now begins, which persons and possessions of bump stock-type devices must turn those devices to an ATF field office or destroy them by March 21st. Instructions for proper destruction will be posted on ATF's website today,” Sanders added.

March 21st is when bump stocks “will finally become unlawful to possess,” the attorney general said.

In addition to banning bump stocks, the DOJ looked at raising the age restrictions on firearms, but found no evidence that doing so would make an impact on school shootings, Whitaker said.

He said the DOJ “specifically worked on issues like the extreme risk protection orders” and made improvements to the FBI tip line, which some parents expressed concern about “coming out of the Parkland shooting.”

“We continue to provide crisis and emergency training for law enforcement, and we will continue to do that. And we looked at the issue of age restrictions on firearms, and we just did not have any existing evidence-based research to suggest that would make a difference, but we’re going to continue to sponsor and fund research so that we can get an answer to that question,” he said.


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