The Senate hearing focused on the government's response to the shooting and legislative proposals to improve school safety as students from almost 3,000 schools staged National School Walkout events to urge lawmakers to do more to address gun violence. "What we saw in Parkland was an example of so many breakdowns in government at the federal level, with the FBI, at the local level with local law enforcement. when so many students knew this was going to happen".
Since the Florida shooting, the Republican-led Congress and the Trump administration have considered measures to curb gun violence while trying to avoid crossing the powerful National Rifle Association lobby group, or threatening the right to bear arms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said the bill "provides a multi-layered approach" to identify threats so authorities can stop violence before it occurs. "As a father of three, I understand the urgent need to stop school violence and do all we can to protect our children".
The STOP Act is the only legislation on track to gain congressional approval following the latest mass school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month.
That bill, also known as the Student, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence of 2018, creates a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials and law enforcement on how to identify signs of violence.
"This Congress can not continue to do nothing, because nothing means more lives are lost, including the youngest and the most vulnerable among us", said Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary panel. It would also fund threat assessments and "anonymous reporting systems" such as phone apps, hotlines and websites for threats of school violence.
"The students of this country are being cut down in the classroom in cold blood", said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y. The White House said the bill would be improved by lifting that restriction.
At the Judiciary Committee hearing, lawmakers discussed several proposals including one with bipartisan support that calls for "extreme risk protection orders" to restrict access to firearms by those who pose an imminent danger to themselves or others. If approved, the bill would be the first gun-related action by Congress since the February 14 attack at a Florida high school that left 17 dead.
On Wednesday, a Senate panel grilled Federal Bureau of Investigation officials over the agency's failures to act on tips received about Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.
Bowdich says the tips occurred on September 25, 2017 and on January 5. "That said, I'm not sure we could have stopped the attack". Nadler, who voted in favor of the bill, further warned that the legislation lacks due process protections for students against whom a report is made. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., a co-sponsor of a bill to ban assault weapons as well as Cornyn's Fix NICS bill, said gun violence has "become all too common for our kids in schools and for Americans across the country".