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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office will host in-person Mobile Office Hours next week to assist constituents with federal casework issues in their respective local communities. These office hours offer constituents who do not live close to one of Senator Rubio’s...

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On One Year Anniversary, Rubio Honors The Memory of The 17 Victims Lost in Parkland Tragedy

Feb 14, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) spoke on the Senate floor to honor the memory of the 17 victims who were killed in the tragedy in Parkland, Florida that occured one year ago today. Earlier today the Senate unanimously passed Rubio’s resolution honoring victims of the tragedy.
 
Background on Rubio’s legislative efforts related to Parkland:

  • Today, the Senate unanimously passed Senators Rubio and Rick Scott (R-FL) resolution to honor the victims and survivors of the Parkland shooting. It also expresses gratitude to the emergency medical and health care professionals who responded and cared for the victims, as well as recognizes the strength and resilience of the Parkland community.
  • This week, Rubio joined Senators Grassley and Jones in reintroducing the EAGLES Act, legislation that would reauthorize and expand the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) to help communities proactively mitigate threats of violence at schools. A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
  • In January, Rubio and his colleagues introduced the bipartisan Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act of 2019 (S. 265), legislation that would create a task force of experts to provide recommendations for a national strategy to keep communities safe from targeted violence through threat assessment and management. A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
  • In January, Rubio also reintroduced his bipartisan “Red Flag” bill.The Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act (S. 7) would dedicate Department of Justice funds to incentivize states to give law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others the ability to purchase or possess firearms, while still providing due process protections. Rubio first introduced this bill in March of 2018 following the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. A one-pager of the legislation is available here.
  • In March of 2018, the Senate passed the Stop School Violence Act, which Rubio co-sponsored following the Parkland tragedy.

 
A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below. A broadcast quality video of Rubio’s remarks can be found here.
 
Rubio: “A year ago this afternoon, I was sitting in my office in the Russell Office Building when news reports began to flash about a shooting at a school in South Florida at a high school. As a father at the time, in the case of one of my two oldest children, still a high school student in South Florida, you normally would be interested just as a Senator from the state but you would be most particularly be interested as a parent. As it turns out, the incident and the shooting took place at a school 50 miles — about 50 minutes from my home. And we all know the story and the lives that were lost in this terrible tragedy. I want to say, at a personal level, it clearly is an issue that has affected me. First, because I’m one of the two Senators that represents state, every person impacted, every victim, everyone that was wounded are constituents of ours. But also as I pointed out my two oldest children are of the same age as the victims. And when you see the pictures and you hear the stories, you can’t help but recognize the stories and the pictures. Maybe not individually. I didn’t know any of the victims personally, but the stories are familiar, because the stories of my children and their friends who are the same age and the same time in their life. And it is impossible to fully comprehend unless you have gone through it. By the grace of God, I have not. But unless you have gone through the loss of a child, particularly under such tragic and traumatic circumstances. That said, throughout the last 12 months, as we reach different milestones in my two daughters’ lives, whether it was the prom, graduation day, or dropping off my oldest in college, or a class ring ceremony for a junior, we’re reminded for just a moment of the parents who had expected to be doing the same during this time of year but were unable. I have learned a lot from those parents, many of whom I have gotten to know personally and worked in the last year alongside on a number of issues. And in the year that has passed, they have turned their grief into effective activism, as have the students.
 

 
“At the outset, let me say that the credit for much of what I am about to speak about belongs to the extraordinary journalists at the South Florida Sun Sentinel who have done a remarkable job over the last 10 months of revealing to the public many facts that would have been unknown otherwise. At a time when there’s so much debate about journalism and its role in our society and public service and politics, they deserve tremendous credit for bringing this to light, and I think it is an example of why journalism remains an important institution in our country.
 

 
“At the heart of this is that the killer, the perpetrator of this terrible tragedy, was known to be dangerous for a long time by many people in positions of power and authority at the school district, sheriff’s office, at the FBI, and no one did anything about it. This is now a documented fact.
 

 
“It is on the basis of these discoveries, working with many of the parents whose children lost their lives a year ago ago today, that last year we pursued on a bipartisan basis and passed the Stop School Violence Act, which provides over a ten-year period, $100 million a year for strengthening school security, providing school training to identify threats before they take action, creating school threat assessments and crisis intervention. That has passed. It is why this year I have reintroduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Protection Act, which will dedicate the Department of Justice funds to incentivize states to give law law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others the ability to purchase or possess firearms. So that if information like what was available to authorities in Parkland are available to people now, they can actually go to court. They can go to court, prove their case with due process, and take the guns away from this person before they go out and commit this crime. And, more importantly, alert their parents to secure the guns at home so they don’t use that gun to commit the crime. I’ve also introduced a bipartisan bill, Threat Assessment Prevention and Safety Act, creates a task force of experts to provide recommendations for a national strategy to keep our communities safe from targeted violence, through threat assessment and management, which experts say is the best way to identify potential killers before they act. If something like this had been in place, it is quite — it is highly likely that authorities, putting all of this together what we know today, would have said this individual is a serious threat and we need to do something about it before they take action. And finally, yesterday Senator Grassley and I reintroduced the EAGLES Act, which would reauthorize and expand the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center to help communities proactively mitigate threats of violence in schools. It is my hope that this terrible tragedy and what we have learned about it will guide us, will provide us a road map of concrete steps that we can take to empower communities, schools, and police departments and parents and families with the tools they need, not just to identify people who are potentially violent, but to prevent it from happening, get out ahead of it. Maybe it is a risk assessment, maybe it is institutionalized mental health or wrap-around services, but anything that can be done. And I raise all of this today because if you were to speak to the families, as I know my colleague from Florida and I often do, they will tell you that the most important thing we can do to honor the memory of their children that they lost in this terrible tragedy is to make sure it doesn’t happen to anybody else. And now one more thing we’d like to do to honor the victims of this tragedy. My colleague Senator Scott and I have put forth a resolution that commemorates this day. It honors the survivors, it pledges continued support for their recovery, it recognizes the strength and resiliency of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the community that surrounds it, it expresses gratitude to the emergency medical and health care professionals of the community for their efforts in responding and caring for the victims and survivors. Most of all, it commemorates the victims that were killed in the attack, and it offers the Senate’s heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the families, loved ones, and friends of the victims.”