Today is the day. March 24th, 2018. March For Our Lives is happening in over 800 cities around the globe. Not coincidentally, I was a guest on Cavuto Live on FNC because I have suggested that there is another path to keeping our kids & teachers safe at school. The path that I believe most effective is to Fwe must take steps to secure our schools. Second, we must keep firearms out of the hands of those that would do themselves or other harm. There is common ground here.
In the days immediately following the murders of 17 innocent children and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD), a very familiar narrative began to emerge. It started, as it always does, with fervent questions. Why did this happen? Why did this happen in Parkland? Why at Marjory Stoneman Douglas? Why is this happening again? Why? Why? Why? We must do something, became a unifying cry. But the unanswered question was, do what?
Before the families had begun to mourn, a litany of national gun control factions descended on Parkland. Organizing. Agitating. Inculcating. With a well-worn refrain of gun control demands, they found willing recruits still reeling from the shock of the savagery. The TV media had already arrived in Parkland; together they would prove to be a potent union. Live feeds. Town halls. Justifiable anger.
But in my view, it was and is the wrong prescription. As a nation, we’ve been down this path before. Many times. Too many times. This time must be different.
Three major legislative victories in the past five weeks, tell me that we are on the right path. We have found common ground and we have ideas that will help to prevent another tragedy like Valentine’s day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
Just this week, ArizonaGovernor Ducey has proposed legislation, Safe Arizona Schools (pdf) based on the legislation we helped pass in Florida. Here’s a look at what it does and here’s commentary from AZ Central’s Jon Gabriel.
As Arizonans shared their priorities during the stakeholder process, common themes were identified, including an urgency for:
- Increased mental and behavioral health resources at schools
- Restricting access to firearms for individuals who pose a severe threat to themselves or others, while respecting the second amendment rights of law-abiding Arizonans
- Increased school resource officer and law enforcement presence at schools
- Enhanced background checks
Our proposal includes initiatives that are responsive to the priorities of Arizonans.
- Invests in mental and behavioral health resources at schools
- Severe Threat Order of Protection (STOP) to restrict firearm access for individuals who are a danger to themselves or others
- Enhances background checks by improving the completeness and accuracy of the criminal history database
- Establishes the Center for School Safety, creating a confidential, centralized reporting tip line to report and investigate concerns of school safety
- Increases school resource officer funding and training and increases the presence of law enforcement on school grounds
- Eliminates background check gaps
- Respects the second amendment rights of law-abiding Arizonans
Sound familiar? Kudos to Arizona for making a substantive proposal. It’s now up to the Arizona legislature to pass these proposals. We’ve shown how to do it in Florida.
As parents of the victim’s of MSD, we will continue to build on common ground across the US. State by state and at the Federal level. More on that later…