By Makayla Grijalva
WASHINGTON — Three weeks after the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, two senators introduced bipartisan legislation in an attempt to make schools safer.
The latest bill aimed at combating gun violence, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), is one of several that have been introduced in the wake of Parkland, Fla. shooting.
“States with the strongest [gun] laws, like Connecticut, are at the mercy of states with the weakest ones because guns and shooters cross borders,” Blumenthal said Thursday at a news conference. “There is nothing to prevent them from going from one state to another, which is why a federal solution is important.”
A federal extreme risk protection order law would allow federal courts to take away a gun from an individual if they pose a threat to themselves or others. With the new legislation, a federal court order would prohibit an individual from purchasing or possessing any firearms for 180 days.
Reps. Fred Upton (R- Mich.) and Elizabeth Etsy (D-Conn.) are leading an identical bill though the House of Representatives.
Five states have already put into place their own ERPO laws: Indiana, Connecticut, California, Washington and Oregon. Indiana’s laws served as the model for the bill introduced Thursday.
“My hope is that these 17 young people would not have died in vain, that there would be in place in every state, not five states, the ability for law enforcement organizations and family members to go to the courts to get help before it’s too late,” Graham said at a press conference Thursday, referencing the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which killed 17 students, teachers and staff.
Florida’s U.S. senators, Republican Marco and Democrat Bill Nelson, introduced similar legislation Wednesday that incentivizes states to enact their own ERPO laws instead of putting a federal law in place.
Rubio expressed his doubts in a press conference Wednesday about whether the legislation implementing federal ERPO laws will garner enough support to pass the Senate.
“We can incentivize states to fully report or we can threaten them by cutting off money, but you can’t compel them by law, in some cases.”