Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: The Federal Government Can’t Do Much To Ensure School Safety

J. Scott ApplewhiteAP Images

While discussing the escalation of school shootings in the U.S. during a speaking engagement at the Community Arts Center in Danville, Kentucky, on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he didn’t think there was much the federal government can do to fix the issue beyond “appropriating funds.” According to CNN, McConnell’s proposed solution for school shootings is to ramp up security instead of enacting stricter gun legislation.

“You would think, given how much it takes to get on an American plane or given how much it takes to get into courthouses, that this might be something that we could achieve, but I don’t think we could do that from Washington, I think it’s basically a local decision,” McConnell said. He also noted that Congress has set aside funds for “school counseling and school safety in its appropriations bill.”

The Fayette County School District plans to expand their school’s security with metal detectors and plans to employ more counselors to expand their mental health services, according to the Lexington-Herald Leader.

Despite the fact that more American students have been killed in school shootings than active combat military personnel in 2018, and that two-thirds of Americans are for tightening U.S. gun legislation, McConnell is seemingly not in favor of gun control laws.

After the February shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Senate met in an effort to “make progress on ‘bills we agree on.'” But any talks of gun legislation were pushed to the side as the Senate discussed a new banking bill, according to CNN. When interviewed that day about any possible gun legislation, McConnell said, “We’d love to do that at some point. I’m hoping there’s a way forward.”

Several states have taken action to address gun laws in the U.S., in the face of “federal inaction.” The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, signed a bill yesterday that would allow for the confiscation of weapons from individuals “who have been identified by their families as a danger to themselves or others.” According to the Boston Globe, the “red flag legislation” will strengthen the state’s already comprehensive gun laws. According to ABC News, they join Oregon (who passed a law banning individuals convicted of domestic violence and stalking from buying or owning guns), Rhode Island (who passed a law restricting gun access to individuals determined to pose a “significant threat to public safety”), Florida (whose latest measure arms teachers in schools and requires a three-day waiting period for gun purchases), and Washington (who banned bump stocks, which was used in the Las Vegas shooting last October).