Posted on August 5, 2019
NASHVILLE, Tenn., August 5, 2019 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio:
“Our nation cannot ignore these mass shootings. That is why last year I helped pass a new law to eliminate loopholes in the background check system for gun purchasers. Two years ago, I helped rewrite federal mental health laws to improve the quality and coordination of mental health care, focusing on early intervention. New laws I co-sponsored gave schools more funds to stop school violence and to meet the needs of students with mental health disorders. I am ready to do more, especially on background checks, to identify those who shouldn’t have guns. Today, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell asked that the health and education committee I chair take an immediate look to find additional bipartisan ways to fund states’ efforts to increase school safety and to help Americans with serious mental health problems. But, especially in a nation with a constitutional right to bear arms, new laws from Washington, D.C., alone won’t stop this violence – it will take a change in behavior. Every day our internet democracy displays millions of hateful thoughts. To change behavior, each of us has a responsibility to replace these hateful thoughts with statements that respect the dignity of every individual, regardless of their background.”
Senator Alexander cosponsored the bipartisan Fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Act, introduced by Senators Cornyn and Murphy, which requires state and federal agencies to work together to fill gaps in the background system. The bill was signed into law as part of the Omnibus Appropriations bill in March 2018.
Senator Alexander cosponsored the bipartisan STOP School Violence Act, introduced by Senators Hatch, Grassley, and Klobuchar, which allows the Department of Justice to make grants to states for training, technology and equipment, and technical assistance to stop school violence. $100 million for these grants was included in the Omnibus Appropriations bill in March 2018.
The 21st Century Cures Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which Senator Alexander wrote and became law in the 114th Congress, provides federal dollars to states and school districts to help meet the needs of students with mental health disorders by improving prevention and early detection efforts.