Today, I participated in a news conference with Senator Jay Chaudhuri, Senator Jeff Jackson, Rep. Grier Martin, and Rep. Marcia Morey during which we presented a Legislative Gun Control Proposal to Keep Our Schools Safe. Our proposal included the following:
- The enactment of extreme risk protection orders that would allow families and law enforcement to ask the courts to temporarily remove guns from individuals who endangered themselves or their community.
- To expand universal background checks for assault-style firearms such as the AR-15 weapon used in the Parkland shooting.
- To raise the age for the purchase of assault weapons to 21.
- To prohibit the sale of bump stocks which are an inexpensive device that modifies a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun.
- Increasing funding for school psychologists and school therapists.
- Funding a highly visible statewide anonymous tip line.
During the press conference, I spoke of the need for our State to operate an anonymous tip line statewide so that students, family members, and concerned citizens can report potential threats of violence. I also spoke of the need for increased funding for School Psychologists and School Counselors in our state. The national average for School Psychologists is 1 for every 700 students, however, in NC, we currently have only 1 for every 2,000 students. When it comes to School Counselors, the national average is 1 for every 250 students, however, in NC, we only have 1 for every 375 students. Yet there has been one common thread that is tied together virtually all of the school shootings as well as other mass murders. It is the fact that the gunman has been diagnosed with mental illnesses which went unaddressed. We need to make certain that we diagnose and intercept students with mental illnesses at the earliest possible point in time to get them help so as to avoid circumstances that could result in their using firearms to hurt themselves or others. I also spoke of the need for us to direct the Center for Safer Schools to conduct a study to determine recommended funding for school resource officers who are law enforcement officers assigned to our schools.
The package of reforms which we collectively proposed will be part of legislation which will be introduced this year. I am hopeful that we will obtain bipartisan for these common-sense measures which will represent meaningful incremental change.