Senators Scott, Cruz, Barrasso Introduce Legislation to Protect Kids, Double Number of School Resource Officers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) joined Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) in introducing the Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2022, legislation that would dedicate over $38 billion to make our schools and communities safer, including funding enhanced school security and doubling the number of school resource officers in America’s schools, investing in school mental health professionals and reducing gun violence. The funds appropriated by their proposal would be fully paid for with unspent American Rescue Plan money.

“The tragedies we’ve mourned as a nation serve as a painful reminder of the consequences of our inability to engage in a meaningful and honest debate on the issues surrounding gun violence,” said Senator Tim Scott. “Leaving the American mental health epidemic and violent crime wave unchecked endangers the lives of our nation’s young people and the communities in which they live. The Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act is a common-sense, common ground solution to increase school safety, address mental health, and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people—all while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

“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,” said Senator Cruz. “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. 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.”

“We all want to help prevent tragedies like what we saw in Uvalde. My focus has always been on mental health and increasing school safety,” said Senator Barrasso. “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.”

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) also sponsored the legislation.

“On behalf of our millions of members, the NRA thanks Sen. Cruz and Sen. Barrasso for introducing the Safe Kids, Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2022. Among other things, this legislation addresses critical issues like school security – to help keep our children and teachers safe, invests in mental health and focuses on the prosecution of criminals while bolstering the rights of law abiding gun owners,” said Jason Ouimet, NRA-ILA Executive Director.

The legislation would:

  • Authorize $200 million to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), requiring an audit to make sure records that would disqualify someone from purchasing or owning a firearm are included in NICS.
  • Increase punishment for thefts from gun dealers.
  • Prohibit Fast and Furious style gun smuggling programs.
  • Authorize $150 million to hire additional federal prosecutors to prosecute firearm violations, $29 million for safe school task forces and combatting juvenile firearm violations, and $75 million to provide child-safety gun locks for every handgun in the U.S.
  • Triple FEMA’s Nonprofit Security Grant Program to secure schools.
  • Require the National Institutes of Justice and National Academy of Sciences to study the causes of mass shootings and report their findings to Congress.
  • Improve research on school violence prevention and provide that information to schools and communities.
  • Reallocate $17.5 billion in unspent American Rescue Plan education funds 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.

Read the full text here.