HUDSON: Protecting our children

It has been almost two weeks since the horrific attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Yet, the country continues to reel from the senseless act perpetrated that day. What happened in Uvalde was abhorrent and we should to everything we can so that it never happens again.

This is a moment that demands action from both sides of the aisle. I have repeatedly joined with my House Republican colleagues to champion common sense measures that would directly improve areas like school safety and mental health. We want to save children’s lives and have come to the table with real solutions.

Unfortunately, Washington Liberals have so far refused to come to the table. Last week, the Judiciary Committee advanced numerous radical gun control measures that fail to meaningfully address the issue of school violence and unlawfully trample on your constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Liberals in Washington are not serious about solving this issue and have instead thrown their support behind ineffective and unconstitutional measures including red flag laws, banning “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines, and expanding background checks. 

The facts have shown that measures like red flag laws and so-called “assault weapons” bans have had almost no impact on preventing a previous mass shooting. As we just saw in Buffalo, the shooter passed a background check and the State of New York has a red flag law.

Individuals who show signs of hurting themselves or others should be referred to law enforcement and given mental health treatment. But the measures which came out of the House Judiciary Committee will only trample on an individual’s constitutionally protected rights – including the right to due process. Additionally, a background check is already required on every commercial gun sale in America. These schemes only target law-abiding citizens and ignore the most pressing needs to protect schools and address the mental health crisis happening in America. I am focused on solutions that address the issues at hand.

I am disappointed and frustrated by this missed opportunity to achieve real progress. Protecting children in schools should be our top priority, but President Biden’s press secretary said “that is not something he believes in.” Now, Washington Democrats are ignoring the need to harden schools and improve mental health services so we can intervene with these young people before they reach a breaking point. 

Over the past few years, House Republicans have advanced numerous solutions to further improve school safety, expand information sharing, and build on our commitment to prevent gun violence. These include the Fix NICS Act which streamlined reporting to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) and the STOP School Violence Act which provided schools with additional resources to harden security and to train students, teachers, and local law enforcement in school violence prevention and protection. Both acts became law in 2018 and have since gone a long way in improving the safety and security of schools across North Carolina and the country.

Republicans have also made strides to tackle many of the root causes of violence such as mental health. This includes provisions like my KIDS Care Act, which would improve access to mental health services and resources for schools and kids, especially those transitioning out of rehabilitation institutions.

We have made progress, but there is clearly much more that can and must be done.

This week, I will introduce new legislation to build on these efforts focused on improving school safety. My legislation, the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act, will expand upon the STOP School Violence Act to fund School Resource Officers and mental health counselors, close loopholes in school security, harden schools, and better equip law enforcement to respond to threats. I look forward to advancing this bill and will not stop until action is taken.

We need real solutions to address gun violence in this country. I have brought forward solutions along with many of my House Republican colleagues to save lives. More must be done to confront this crisis and I will continue to work with my colleagues and any Democrat willing to come to the table to do just that. Our children’s lives depend on it, and I will not rest until we know our schools and communities are safe.

By U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson

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