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Entries in Safety (2)

Thursday
Dec202012

Sen. Boxer Proposes Using National Guard Troops in Schools

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., proposed using National Guard troops to help make schools across the nation safer and avoid another shooting like last week at Sandy Hook.
 
“Three hundred million weapons are out there, nothing I know is going to change that. And in the meantime we better -- we darn better -- keep our kids safe,” Sen. Boxer said at a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday. “And if we avoid looking at that question I think we are failing.”
 
The Save Our Schools Act (SOS) would allow the federal government to reimburse Governors who want to use National Guard troops in schools and is modeled after the National Guard program that allows governors to use the Guard to assist with law enforcement efforts related to drug interdiction activities.
 
“So we take a successful program and we say we’re going to add a new purpose,” Boxer said. "National guard troops could be used to help support local law enforcement agencies in protecting our children at schools.”
 
Under the new program, Guard troops could work with law enforcement agencies to ensure schools are safe. This could take the form of additional guards at school, strengthening the perimeter security of the school or relieving local law enforcement officials who have desk jobs.
 
“I feel very strongly that this is an appropriate use of our national guard,” Boxer said Wednesday. “The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is a reminder that we have failed our children.”
 
Governors already have the power to use the Guard on their own currently, but they’d have to pay for it under already-squeezed state budgets.  Under Boxer’s legislation governors could apply and have 100 percent of their plan paid though by federal funds already set up by the drug interdiction program.
 
Boxer said she has not had a conversation with any other senators about this proposal but will be working to get support before the next session of Congress.  She plans to speak with Vice President Biden, who will lead the charge on this issue, about her proposal soon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan282011

House Dems Demand Gun Safety Hearings; Timing Inappropriate? 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the recent Tucson shootings, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called Friday on the chairman of the panel to hold hearings on gun safety, but the committee’s top Republican, Lamar Smith, says that the timing is “inappropriate” and could have a “prejudicing” effect on Jared Loughner’s ongoing criminal proceedings.

“We fully recognize and appreciate the sensitivity of the subjects raised by the recent tragedy in Tucson in which our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and 18 others were wounded or killed, including members of her staff, a Federal judge, and several other citizens,” the letter states. “However, we also believe it is not only possible, but imperative that Congress review the relevant issues in a civil and objective matter.”

Among the issues the group would like to review in the hearing are high-capacity ammunition magazines, mental health records of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and illegal drug use in the database.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, responded to the letter in a statement, saying that he believes it would be inappropriate to hold hearings so quickly after the Tucson shooting because it could interfere with Loughner’s prosecution.

“I appreciate the Minority’s interest in the NICS program.  And the Judiciary Committee should, at the appropriate time, undertake a review of the NICS system as a part of our oversight of Justice Department programs.  But to undertake such a review in the context of the tragic shooting in Arizona, as the Minority suggests, could have the unintended effect of prejudicing the ongoing criminal proceedings against Loughner in which his mental status is likely to be a key issue,” Smith states. “Jared Loughner has not been found to be mentally ill.  It is inappropriate for Congress to hold hearings on NICS that presume otherwise while Loughner is facing trial.”

Conyers, however, says that the shooting in Tucson only proves the urgency of the need to hold hearings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio