WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM) - Today, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Wyoming Senator John Barrasso introduced the 'Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2022,' a legislation that would funnel over $38 billion to the safety of public schools.
This funding would be used to enhance school security, double the number of school resource officers present in schools, invest in school mental health professionals and reduce gun violence.
A press release from Cruz's office said that $17.5 billion in unspent American Rescue Plan education funds would be reallocated to enhance school safety including by doubling the number of trained school resource officers nationwide and $10 billion in grants to hire 15,000 school mental health professionals for K-12 schools.
"There have been far too many school shootings in this country, and it is past time for Congress to do something to address this problem," Cruz said. "Our 'Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act' would focus on making schools safer by increasing the number of properly trained school resource officers on campus who can deter and, if necessary, stop school shooters before our kids are harmed, increasing the number of school mental health professionals who can identify at-risk children and ensure those kids get the help they need before they become violent, and providing funding to improve the physical security measures for schools."
"Our legislation also focuses on curbing gun violence by improving NICS and prioritizing law enforcement, criminal prosecutions of persons who illegally buy a gun and expanding Project Exile to more effectively prosecute those who commit violent crimes with a firearm," Cruz continued. "These are issues that the left and right should be able to agree on. Our legislation would not only help prevent school shootings, but do so while still protecting the constitutional rights of millions of law-abiding Americans."
The legislation would authorize $200 million to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, requiring an audit to make sure records that would disqualify someone from purchasing or owning a firearm are included in NICS.
The legislation would also increase punishment for thefts from gun dealers, prohibit gun smuggling programs, authorize $150 million to hire additional federal prosecutors to prosecute firearm violations, authorize $29 million for safe school task forces and combatting juvenile firearm violations, and authorize $75 million to provide child-safety gun locks for every handgun in the U.S.
"We all want to help prevent tragedies like what we saw in Uvalde," Barrasso said. "My focus has always been on mental health and increasing school safety. This is exactly what Senator Cruz and I focus on with our 'Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act.' Our legislation will make a difference by securing schools and providing mental health professionals to identify and address the behavioral health needs of our students. This is an opportunity for Congress to take meaningful action to make our communities safer while always protecting the constitutional rights of Americans."
FEMA's Nonprofit Security Grant Program to secure schools would be tripled under this legislation. The legislation would require the National Institutes of Justice and National Academy of Sciences to study the causes of mass shootings and report their findings to Congress.
Research on school violence prevention and providing information to schools and communities would be improved under this legislation.
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