Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) today hosted various government officials, families impacted by the Parkland shooting, experts, and leaders for a forum on intervention and prevention of school gun violence, in addition to a focus on the use of technology in school security.
The purpose of the forum was to bring people together to understand best practices on school safety, and take back to their agency or community new ideas to implement. Rubio pushed for the Stop School Violence Act, which was passed into law last month. He also introduced federal legislation for a “red flag” law, which Florida recently implemented and has already prevented gun violence.
A rough, partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
We start to learn what are the different things that we can do and there is a lot of little topic areas and a lot of different topic areas to be focused on. There’s the laws that regulate guns, there’s laws that help us identify people and get ahead of it before they act. And then there is another component and that’s what many of the folks here today – this was kind of the genesis of this idea, came from Max and from his organization to kind of really get behind the notion of protecting school facilities. And it strikes us that there are places around this country that are doing extraordinary things and have made great progress both technological and the like, but other states and communities may not know about it unless someone puts it up on the news.
So, the purpose of this gathering here today, that Senator Nelson and I wanted to put together, is to gather people from all around the country to talk about those best practices. Number one so that many of the people - just looking at the audience I can see that there are people here that are elected at the county and state level across the country. They can hear from one another about what other places are doing. What are the best practices? The second is it is our hope to become strong advocates both at the federal and state level for more funding, for more money to be able to do school security upgrades. But, we want to make sure were going to spend taxpayer money on school safety and security. We’re not spending it on 1.0, we’re spending it on the 3.0 version of it and the latest and the best evidence-based systems that are in place.
Today will be sort of trying to bring as many of these innovative ideas into one place so that the public can learn about it and demand it of their policy makers so our policy makers know can know about it and make it a priority at every level of our government. That’s our hope here today is to be able to serve as a forum for that.
So I want to thank all of the participants who have traveled here from all over the country, from the west coast. Many of the families up from Parkland are here and who are part of this. I want to particularly recognize the ones who that I believe are here: Ilan and Lori Alhadeff, Fred Guttenburg is here, Phil and April Schentrup are here, Tony Montalto, Ryan Petty, and of course Max Schachter is here. Families who have suffered tremendously but are turning their pain into activism so this is never happens to anyone anywhere again. Obviously as we go through the program you’ll learn about some of the different people that are involved here today and hear their stories as well.
Photos are courtesy of Senate Photography Studio.