In the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead, the next question on the minds of citizens and representation is what to do next. The education secretary Betsy DeVos and Democrats in Congress have been pushing for hearings for school shootings following the Florida school shooting. The push for congressional hearings is happening even though mass school shootings across the nation have not resulted in any additional legislation to improve the issues around the matter. Following each mass shooting -such as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School- there were calls from citizens to make improvements on background checks and restrictions for firearm sales and mental health care. These calls on representation to implement these improvements to the manner of how we sell firearms and to mental health care still led to nothing being passed.
The education secretary Betsy DeVos made a statement following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She commented during a radio interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the shooting should open up more discussion and methods on treating mental health issues in this country. The focus on mental health care is being brought up by DeVos and others based on the shooter Nikolas Cruz showing clear indicators of mental illness, instability, and violence. DeVos sees the congressional hearings as a chance to have that discussion on mental health issues and treatment in this country.
Washington Senator Patty Murray (Democrat Party) agreed with Education Secretary DeVos on this issue needing a thorough and complete discussion for real solutions in Congress. Senator Murray is a member of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee. She encouraged Republicans in the Senate to open up to congressional hearings on mental illness. Senator Murray stated that many people and families across the country are wondering why Congress isn’t acting with common sense debate and legislation to handle the mental health and gun safety legislation issues.
Others in Congress wrote a letter to the Republican chair and Representative Virginia Foxx requesting a congressional hearing following DeVos’s calls for one. Representative Bobby Scott and of Virginia and Representative Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon wrote the letter. They stated that the Valentine’s Day shooting that left 17 dead and many other injured was preventable. The brought up the fact that following the Sandy Hook shooting five years ago there have been 230 school shootings and more than 430 people have been shot in those shootings. There has not been a congressional hearing concerning these shootings since 2013. It is long overdue for Congress to once again address the issue and to perhaps finally come upon a legislation decision to help prevent more shootings from happening in the future.
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