Rep. Graves supports School Safety Bill

Montana Senator Jon Tester

Montana Senator Jon Tester

The STOP Act is the only legislation on track to gain congressional approval following the latest mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month.

Hundreds of students from the Washington area are rallying at the Capitol to urge stricter gun control laws.

"At a time when people are asking Washington to do something, Congress took action today to not just do something, but to start addressing the problem with a strong bill of the Stop School Violence Act that gives students, teachers, and law enforcement more tools to actively identify a potential shooter before a tragedy happens", Representative Steve Scalise (R., La.) said at a press conference after the bill was passed. The bill aims to curb school violence by providing more training for school officials and local law enforcement to respond to mental health crises.

The House voted 407-10 to pass the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act (the STOP Act), with five Democrats and five Republicans opposing the measure. Hal RogersHarold (Hal) Dallas RogersHouse retirement sets off scramble for coveted chairmanship The Hill's 12:30 Report Live coverage: Federal government on brink of shutdown MORE (R-Texas), one of the bill's co-sponsors.

The bill authorizes $50 million per year for grants administered by the Department of Justice to fund training and other initiatives meant to enhance school safety, and $25 million annually for physical improvements such as metal detectors, stronger locks, and emergency notification and response technologies for schools to notify law enforcement of emergencies. Students across the country staged walkouts Wednesday to protest gun violence, with one of the protests taking place outside the Capitol. "How many innocent lives could have been saved if these weapons of war weren't so readily available?" The legislation, backed by President Donald Trump, includes no gun-related provisions.

"We made mistakes, there is no question about that", Bowditch said. Increased funding for mental health programs and school security will have positive effects, but "mass shootings will not stop until we rid society of the weapons that make them possible", Katharine Posada told senators.

A Senate version of that bill has enough support to pass, based on the more than 60 senators who have signed on as co-sponsors. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., filed the Fix NICS bill following the Sutherland Springs church shooting last November. While the bill now has more than 60 cosponsors - a normal indicator that it could avoid a filibuster - many Democrats want to open up the legislation to amendments, and it's unclear how Republican leaders will proceed.

Sanders says the USA needs to strengthen laws to help law enforcement, deal with mental health problems and find ways to prevent violence in schools.

In a floor speech, Sen.

Scalise said the bipartisan nature of the bill shows how committed Congress is to preventing future school shootings.

Cortez Masto recalled the October 1 tragedy in Las Vegas when 58 people were killed and 500 injured "at the hands of a madman with an assault rifle".

"No child should ever fear for his or her safety at school", said Rep. Graves.