Preventing Gun Violence
From my first days in office, I have worked tirelessly to address the root causes of gun violence. Enough is enough. The horror and shock we all feel every time we see an instance of gun violence makes us ask why this happens and what we can do to stop it from happening again.
Unfortunately, some believe more gun control is the only solution. However, the truth is this is a complicated problem that requires comprehensive solutions. We must strengthen background checks and close loopholes, make our schools safer, help law enforcement with better training and better coordination, and improve mental health resources so that individuals who need intervention don’t keep slipping through the cracks in the system.
A few of the notable actions I’ve taken include:
Strengthening Background Checks and Closing Loopholes
- I helped craft the Fix NICS Act to improve reporting to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS) while also strengthening Second Amendment protections for law-abiding gun owners. This legislation was included in my bill, H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, when it passed the House in December of 2017. The Fix NICS Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump in March 2018.
- The point of Fix NICS is simple – we don’t want anyone who shouldn’t possess a firearm getting their hands on one.
- I included tough language in my legislation, H.R. 38, to force the Attorney General to examine how and when bump stocks have been used in crimes and report back to Congress.
- In December 2018, the Trump Administration officially banned bump stocks.
Securing Our Schools
- Last year, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed the Student, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018 as part of the omnibus bill. This law will make our schools safer by providing resources to train students, teachers, and local law enforcement so they can help stop school violence before it happens.
- It also encourages state and local officials to share best practices for preventing school violence with federal law enforcement and their counterparts in other states.
- In addition, it provides funding for technology and equipment to improve school security and stop attacks. This funding may be used for metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other technologies to keep schools safe.
- With the 21st Century Cures Act, I helped permanently authorized the VALOR initiative at the Department of Justice, which trains law enforcement on appropriate actions to take in an active shooter scenario.
- The law also improved the National Violent Death Reporting System at the CDC to help track violent deaths and illuminate ways they can be prevented.
- In addition, the House recently passed a spending bill with my amendment to double the money available for research to study the root causes of gun violence, including the impact and effectiveness of grants authorized under the STOP School Violence Act.
Adding Desperately-Needed Resources for Mental Health
- Addressing the root cause of violence in our society and improving our mental health system has been and will continue to be a priority. It is clear that Congress needs to continue examining and improving mental health care.
- The mental health reforms included in the 21st Century Cures Act represented the most significant reforms to the mental health system in more than a decade.
- There are many policies aimed at preventing an individual from reaching a point of crisis, including:
- Allowing more compassionate communication under HIPAA so family members can help individuals going through severe mental illness and facilitate treatment;
- Providing increased grant funding for training so teachers, EMS and other professionals can appropriately intervene before someone with mental illness experiences a crisis; and
- Reauthorizing programs that focus on helping treat children early on with severe emotional disturbances.
Other Notable Legislation Congressman Hudson Supported:
H.R. 4909 – STOP School Violence Act
The bill reestablishes a grant program for schools to be able to make security improvements including developing "threat assessment teams", creating anonymous reporting systems, and funding training and technical assistance for schools and law enforcement to help identify warning signs of potentially violent behavior. It authorizes $50 million over 10 years.
H.R. 5324 – Supporting Teachers and Safe Students Act
Allows schools to use Title II (training and recruitment of teachers) funds to increase professional development in mental health awareness and violence prevention. Would allow funds to be used to decrease the student-teacher counselor ratio.
H.R. 1339 – Mass Violence Prevention Act
Established a fusion center at the FBI to prevent mass violence. This would enable better coordination between local, state, and federal law enforcement. Strengthens the penalty for burglary or robbery of a Federal Firearms Licensee. Authorizes DOJ to hire additional Assistant US Attorneys to prosecute gun violence cases under Project Safe Neighborhoods. These efforts may have prevented the attacks at Charleston, Parkland, and Columbine.
H.R. 838 – Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act
Will standardize and provide a behavioral threat assessment and management process across the Federal government. Provides States the training, resources, and support needed to stand up community-based, multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment and management units. Recognizes that behavioral threat assessment and management processes must become part of the culture and fabric of contemporary law enforcement.
H.R. 2319 - 21st Century NICS Act
Allows the FBI to access the N-Dex system when performing a background check under NICS for the potential sale of a firearm. This database aggregates criminal records from various local, state, and federal agencies to provide critical information to the criminal justice community. Had it been enacted, this bill may have prevented the Charleston shooting.