WASHINGTON – Sen. Marco Rubio outlined a Parkland response plan today, calling for more training to identify threats in schools and faster reporting to law enforcement, gun-violence restraining orders, strengthening background checks and funding more prosecutors to go after straw purchases.
"After the tragic events of February 14, the Parkland community, the residents of Florida, and the entire nation have demanded action," the Florida Republican said. "While there are sharp differences on restrictions to the 2nd Amendment, there is widespread agreement that we must act now to prevent another tragedy like Parkland from happening anywhere else, ever again."
But Rubio stopped short of embracing some of the bigger ideas he said he was open to during last week's CNN town hall: Raising the purchase age for assault-style rifles and restricting magazine capacity.
"These reforms do not enjoy the sort of widespread support in Congress that the other measures announced today enjoy," Rubio said. "In order to successfully achieve passage of these ideas, they will need to be crafted in a way that actually contributes to greater public safety, while also not unnecessarily or unfairly infringing on the 2nd Amendment right of all law abiding adults to protect themselves, hunt or participate in recreational shooting."
Rubio's office indicated provisions of the plan have been introduced or are being drafted in conjunction with other lawmakers. It did not say how he intends to continue to study the ideas he talked about at the CNN town hall.
The complete proposal, as provided by Rubio's office:
Our schools are woefully unprepared to prevent an attack before it occurs. Furthermore, during my visit to the site of the attack and my follow-up meeting with teachers at the school, I learned of various changes to school facilities and practices which could have stopped this attack or improved the response. Therefore I will be joining Senator Orrin Hatch in introducing the Stop School Violence Act. If passed, this law would provide federal grants to states to:
– strengthen school security,
– provide school training to identify threats, and;
– create school threat assessment and crisis intervention teams (like the successful program in Los Angeles) that in coordination with law enforcement agencies and school personnel identify students or former students who may pose a threat of violence and intervene to stop them before they act.
A second issue identified is that even if law enforcement, school administrators or family members believe an individual poses the risk of committing an act of violence, they have very limited options to prevent them from purchasing any gun or taking the guns they already have away. Therefore, I intend to present a new law that will lead to the creation of Gun Violence Restraining Orders that will give law enforcement and close family members the option of obtaining a court order to prevent gun sales or remove guns from individuals who pose a threat and provide due process protections.
A third issue we have uncovered is that federal law appears to discourage school systems from reporting dangerous students to law enforcement. While I do not support criminalizing all school conduct, students who have threatened violence and exhibited violent behavior need to be reported to law enforcement so that appropriate action can be taken. Under Broward County School policies pursuant to the PROMISE program, reporting students to law enforcement is step 6 of the plan. Therefore, I will be proposing changes to the federal youth PROMISE program, so that a school district plan under the PROMISE program does not delay or discourage law enforcement from being alerted to dangerous, violent or hazardous behavior.
Fourth, we need to strengthen background checks. Therefore, we are pushing for the immediate passage of the Fix NICS Act which will require all federal agencies, and incentivize every state, to fully report all relevant information to the national background check database.
Fifth, we must begin to prosecute the purchase of guns by people prohibited from doing so. Next week, I will be joining a bi-partisan group of Senators in filing the "Lie and Try" bill, which will require the FBI to notify states when a prohibited person tries to buy a gun, and fails the required background check so they can be investigated and prosecuted. In addition, we will presenting a new law to provide more prosecutors to go after "Straw Purchases" where an individual who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who could not pass a background check.
Finally, I will continue to explore additional reforms involving age limits and potentially magazine capacity. These reforms do not enjoy the sort of widespread support in Congress that the other measures announced today enjoy. In order to successfully achieve passage of these ideas, they will need to be crafted in a way that actually contributes to greater public safety, while also not unnecessarily or unfairly infringing on the 2nd Amendment right of all law abiding adults to protect themselves, hunt or participate in recreational shooting."