Making Schools Safer and Protecting the Second Amendment
‘Yesterday, the Senate took a big step toward an important bipartisan bill to prevent mass murders, make schools safer, and protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens... The American people know that we don’t have to choose between safer schools and our constitutional rights. Our country can and should have both.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding safe communities:
“Yesterday, the Senate took a big step toward an important bipartisan bill to prevent mass murders, make schools safer, and protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“A bipartisan group led by Senator Cornyn has put together a package of commonsense and popular solutions to make these horrific incidents less likely. And it does not so much as touch the rights of the overwhelming supermajority of American gun owners who are law-abiding citizens of sound mind.
“I have spent my career supporting, defending, and expanding law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights. The right to bear arms, the right to defend oneself and one’s family, is a core civil liberty.
“Among other things, Senate Republicans spent years confirming a generation of federal judges who understand that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights actually mean what they say.
“The American people know that we don’t have to choose between safer schools and our constitutional rights. Our country can and should have both.
“But throughout recent years, our Democratic colleagues had indicated they were not interested in substantial legislation to create safer communities if they didn’t get to take massive bites out of the Second Amendment in the process.
“There have been attempts at bipartisan talks after horrible incidents in the past. But they fell apart when Democrats would not sign onto anything that did not roll back the Bill of Rights for law-abiding Americans.
“This time is different. This time, Democrats came our way and agreed to advance some commonsense solutions without rolling back rights for law-abiding citizens.
“The result is a product I’m proud to support.
“It will send more direct funding to community behavioral health centers and for mental health in schools.
“It will send money not just to states that decide to implement so-called ‘red flag’ laws, but to every state, to fund crisis intervention programs of their own choosing.
“And states that do use the money for ‘red flag’ laws will have to build in new due process protections that have never been required before.
“The bill also removes the blinders that have prevented the NICS background check system from considering young people’s preexisting juvenile records.
“If a young teenager has been convicted of a violent crime or institutionalized for mental illness, there is no reason why that important record should be magically wiped away on their 18th birthday for the purposes of buying weapons. That information is clearly relevant and 87% of Americans agree.
“To be clear, this legislation has no new restrictions, bans, waiting periods, or mandates for law-abiding gun owners of any age.
“No new restrictions, bans, waiting periods, or mandates for law-abiding citizens of any age, including those aged 18 to 21.
“Someone who has never been convicted of a violent crime or adjudicated as mentally ill will not have their rights affected one iota.
“And a whole lot of schools and communities will receive more mental health funding to prevent crisis situations before they develop.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, Second Amendment