September 26, 2018
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Four Pieces Of Legislation On Gun Control

Senator Ed Reilly
Senator Ed Reilly's picture
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April 3, 2018

One of the most important issues facing governments of all levels is gun control. Just recently, our state had a school shooting in St. Mary’s County where one student was wounded and two were fatally wounded. Every year in the Maryland General Assembly, lawmakers submit “gun bills” that try to keep our citizens safe from gun violence while keeping a balance with our Second Amendment rights.

In this legislative session, four pieces of legislation were introduced by Senator Steve Waugh of Calvert and St. Mary’s counties. They are a bipartisan consensus package that will dramatically improve our children’s safety in schools.

 

SENATE BILL 1262 – SCHOOL SAFETY ACT OF 2018: PREVENTION

This two-part bill focuses on prevention of school violence.

Part 1: Better Background Investigations

A workgroup consisting of members from the Maryland State Police, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the attorney general’s office and the Department of Health will look at how investigations of firearms applications are conducted both in Maryland and other states. They will make recommendations on how to obtain accurate, current and integrated background information from applications, and the best way to determine and report if an applicant has been convicted of a crime. Also, they will look at the mental health status of the applicant, including if that person has ever been hospitalized for a mental health issue.

Part 2: Crisis Welfare Officers in Local Law Enforcement

The Department of Human Resources will be required to provide each county sheriff/police department with at least one employee dedicated to work as a school crisis welfare officer. Duties of this officer will include investigating threats of potential violence in school systems, especially those made by students who have repeated issues within the system.

 

SENATE BILL 1263 – SCHOOL SAFETY ACT OF 2018: ANTICIPATION

This four-part bill focuses on anticipation on school violence.

Part 1: Penalties for Violent Threats

This defines what penalties will be for those who commit a crime on school grounds, including imprisonment of up to 20 years with a felony conviction and up to $10,000 in fines.

Part 2: Threat Assessment Teams

Threat assessment teams will identify and assess people who may pose a threat. Assessment teams will consist of school counselors, teachers, administrators and law enforcement. The teams will provide guidance to students on how to recognize and report threats, and serve as a resource for students on how to determine if a threat is real or how to handle imminent and occurring school threats. In the event they cannot address or mitigate problems by working with parents or other normal means, the threat assessment team may trigger a “red flag” restraining order.

Part 3: “Red Flag” Restraining Order

Based on domestic violence restraining orders, this is a judicial action that respects due process and civil rights. It can be requested by a threat assessment team, family member or select others. If a judge approves a restraining order in court, it will trigger the surrender process.

Part 4: Surrender Process

When a restraining order is placed, law enforcement will immediately execute a search warrant to temporarily secure any weapons the judge ordered surrendered.

 

SENATE BILL 1264 – SCHOOL SAFETY ACT OF 2018: DETERRENCE

This bill pertains to armed resource officers. It provides armed police and resource officers in schools. Armed resource officers will be sworn deputies or police who provide a visible presence and interact with students while performing entry point screening and patrol. Local law enforcement will maintain a required response time to reinforce armed resource officers when necessary.

 

SENATE BILL 1265 – SCHOOL SAFETY ACT OF 2018: PROTECTION

This bill is two parts and focuses on the protection of students.

Part 1: Secure Doors and Safe Refuge

The state will provide grants and funding to school systems to update schools to include secure entry points into the buildings, surveillance of grounds and other improvements aimed to provide enhanced security.

Part 2: Active Shooter Drills

School boards will implement active shooter drills, much like fire drills, that will provide students and teachers clear plans on what to do during an active shooter situation.

All four of these bills have bipartisan sponsors, co-sponsors and support. Together they are a very effective and organized legislative package to mitigate the problems our teachers and students face in our state’s schools. I have co-sponsored this legislation and will work to make our schools a safe place for quality education to occur.

As always, if I can be of any assistance, contact me at 410-841-3568.


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