VIDEO: Senate Passes Cornyn’s Mental Health and School Safety Bill One Month After Uvalde
WASHINGTON – Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statements after the Senate passed his Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, targeted legislation that addresses the specific problems that have led to recent mass shootings and helps ensure schools are safe without placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. Video is available here.
“Tomorrow will mark one month since the tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas.”
“The American people were shocked, outraged, and devastated by this attack and collectively asked, how can we prevent this from happening again?”
“While the discussions surrounding this topic causes emotions to run high, and I understand why. For too long some politicians have tried to pit the right to live in a safe community against the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. They make it seem like the country can only have one or the other: either the Second Amendment or safe schools, and churches, and grocery stores. And, of course, this is a false choice. Law-abiding gun owners are not the problem.”
“I don’t believe in doing nothing in the face of what we saw in Uvalde and we’ve seen in far too many communities. Doing nothing is an abdication of our responsibility.”
“At the same time, I reiterated my bottom line, which is I would not support any provisions that infringed on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Again, they are not the problem. But I knew that this effort was about the art of the possible, looking at areas where we could agree and setting aside those areas where we could not.”
“This legislation will protect our schools, protect our communities, and safeguard the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no parent should ever fear for the safety of their child at school, and no child should be afraid to go to school.”
“Passing good public policy and supporting the Constitution are not mutually exclusive.”
“I believe we have in the gallery tonight people who have suffered unthinkable losses of loved ones in some of these mass shooting incidents. But I want to tell them that their advocacy has turned their pain into something positive.”
“Many have come to doubt whether we’re capable of making our institutions work.”
“We proved that we can, when sufficiently inspired by the people in the gallery and others when they say, ‘Do something,’ to come together and find common ground that will help keep our communities safer, protect our children, and save lives.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is targeted legislation addressing the specific problems that have led to recent mass shootings and the need for additional mental health and school safety resources. It includes:
Support for State Crisis Intervention Orders
- Provides resources to states to implement crisis intervention court programs, which could include mental health courts, drug courts, Veterans’ Courts, and Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs.
- Every state would receive funding based on an existing formula and have the flexibility to choose whichever crisis intervention programs would work best for them. There are no mandates, incentives, penalties, or set-asides.
- If a state chooses to use any of this funding to implement an extreme risk protection order program, it would be required to meet strict and expansive due process, evidentiary, and standard of proof requirements.
Investments in Children and Family Mental Health Services
- Expands the community behavioral health center model nationwide and makes major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention.
Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Updates the definition of misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to include those who have or have had a current or recent continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with their victim.
- Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence against a person with whom they have or have had a current or recent continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature would have their right to purchase and possess firearms automatically restored after five years elapsed from the end of their criminal sentence if they had committed no further crimes of violence.
Funding for School-Based Mental Health and Supportive Services
- Invests in programs to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including early identification and intervention.
Funding for School Safety Resources
- Invests in programs to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools, supports school violence prevention efforts and provides training to school personnel and students.
Clarification of the Definition of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer
- Cracks down on criminals who illegally evade licensing requirements.
- Invests in programs that increase access to mental and behavioral health services for youth and families in crisis via telehealth.
Under-21 Enhanced Review Process
- For buyers under 21 years of age whose background checks are flagged for cause, the bill allows up to seven additional days for the FBI to conduct an enhanced review into the possibly disqualifying juvenile and mental health adjudication records.
Penalties for Straw Purchasing
- Cracks down on criminals, cartel members, and terrorists who illegally straw purchase and traffic guns.
The Senators’ Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is fully offset. Text of the Senators’ legislation is available here.
The legislation is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, the National District Attorneys Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Psychological Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Rural Health Association, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Electronic Security Association, and the Security Industry Association, along with other national and state domestic violence, mental health, and education organizations.