NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A bill signed into law this summer by President Joe Biden called “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” attempts to combat violence across our country.
The bill funds a series of initiatives that includes mental health programs, stronger background checks for firearms, and making schools safer.
It also closes the “boyfriend loophole” by prohibiting someone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from purchasing or having a firearm for at least five years.
Supports of the bill said it protects the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens while also taking steps to making communities safer.
Those who voted against the bill like Senator Marsha Blackburn, claimed it infringes on American’s constitutional rights to bear arms.
However, what she does support is the section of the act that address the need for additional school safety measures.
“Keeping children safe in school. It’s another area where we have put a good bit of time and attention,” said Blackburn, Tennessee (R).
She shared two ideas she feels would directly impact Tennesseans and should be addressed immediately.
First, an amendment she attempted and failed to include in the Bipartisan Safery Communities Act.
The amendment would allow for training and hiring of veterans and law enforcement to serve as school safety officers.
“They have firearms training; they know how to deescalate situations. They want to be of help for protecting children in schools. I think this is a good workable solution,” said Blackburn.
But, the amendment met resistance from opposition who she claimed said schools should be gun free zones.
“There are some individuals that do not want the funds to be used in any way, shape, or form for officers in the schools,” she said.
Blackburn will continue to rally support for that cause along side her second idea that focuses on freeing available funds that were allocated during the Covid pandemic.
“There is $100 billion that is leftover in the elementary, secondary school fund. And that comes from the Cares Act funding.” She continued, “I had recommended several months ago that we allowed the schools to use this, for technology, for safety, for security.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act provides $1 billion to help schools build comprehensive safety strategies.
The funding can be used to support before, after and summer school programs, which supporters said reduces the risk of violent incidents.
The bill would also provide $300 million to students and educators for training and tools to help prevent and respond to violence.
“This would be a great use for this money. Allow these schools to put this into technology and security to make certain that our children are safe when they are at school and in these classrooms,” Blackburn said.
Senator Blackburn said she is hopeful the funding initiative will pass by the end of the year.