WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today reintroduced legislation to improve school safety and prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. The Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2018 prevents gun violence by ensuring that relevant agencies and institutions accurately submit records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). A strong bipartisan majority of Senators supported an earlier version of this legislation in 2013.
“Time and again we’ve seen the disastrous results of failures to fully employ the national background checks system. A number of recent mass shootings could have been prevented by proper execution of the existing system. Senator Cruz and I are now taking steps to bolster that system and improve its ability to prevent future violence.” Grassley said. “When we introduced this legislation in 2013, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, it received a bipartisan majority vote in the Senate. I’m optimistic in rejoining Senator Cruz in this effort and look forward to the bill’s consideration.”
“During the gun control debate in 2013, following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook, I was proud to join my colleague Sen. Grassley in introducing this legislation,” Cruz said. “We continue to witness horrific shootings across the country, including in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Parkland, Florida. This bill seeks to prevent these tragedies by significantly increasing funding for school safety, creating a federal task force to prosecute the criminals who attempt to illegally obtain a firearm, and directing the Department of Justice to make sure that all federal agencies are reporting convictions to the National Background Check Database. In 2013, this bill received the support of a bipartisan majority of the Senate, and I would urge my colleagues to support the bill again today, so that we can focus on targeting violent criminals, rather than law-abiding citizens.”
The bill was first introduced as the “Grassley-Cruz” amendment in 2013, when the amendment received a positive vote of 52-48 in the Senate, when Republicans were in the minority. The legislation takes important, concrete steps to improve the NICS, address mental health concerns relating to the purchase of firearms and bolster alerts to law enforcement. It will commission a study on the causes of mass shootings from the National Institute of Justice and National Academy of Sciences. The bill also includes additional grant resources, which can be used to strengthen school safety and security.
A one-page bill summary and full text of the legislation can be found here and here.
Grassley also announced that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Parkland, Florida, shooting on March 14. At his direction, the FBI, Google and Facebook have provided or will provide briefings to committee staff on the FBI’s failure to act on tips it received about the shooter and Google’s and Facebook’s effort to support law enforcement efforts to prevent mass shootings. The committee also held a hearing on NICS and firearm accessories in December.
Yesterday, Grassley joined a Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues in introducing the Students, Teachers, and Officers Prevent (STOP) School Violence Act of 2018. A sweeping school safety bill that invests in school security improvements and early intervention programs to stop school violence.