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house Bill H.R. 6975

Should Schools Be Able to Buy Security Equipment From the Military?

Argument in favor

The threat of gun violence in schools is a source of stress for students and parents. Giving schools access to military-grade equipment will allow them to better protect their students, ensuring safe learning environments and peace for mind for students and parents.

Matthew's Opinion
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11/10/2018
Of course. Protection for the young people of our nation is a must. If we don’t possess guns, then we cannot protect ourselves from people with guns. Gun control would take away protection from law abiding people. Criminals and psychos will get guns whether they are legal or not. This bill is not militarizing schools. It is giving schools the ability to access more protection. So what do we want? It’s the OPTION of more protection or it’s being FORCED to give up the 2nd amendment. I choose less governmental control over our personal freedom.
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Jeffrey's Opinion
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11/10/2018
Gun free zones are the most common target of mentally deranged mass shooters. Eliminate gun free zones!
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Robert's Opinion
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11/10/2018
Retired teacher here: TSA screening devises, locker down campuses, visitor name tags, NOT GUNS for teachers or principals, cyber protection too
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Argument opposed

The militarization of schools creates an atmosphere of fear that’s harmful to students’ ability to learn. The actual risk of gun violence in schools is quite small, at less than 0.5% of schools reporting incidents in the 2015-2016 school year.

Penelope's Opinion
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11/10/2018
Schools are not military zones nor should they be treated as such. Schools are supposed to be a place where you set your mind free to explore and learn. A place of personal, emotional, and intellectual growth. NOT a place where terror reigns and a military style presence inhibits growth and learning. This is an absurd proposition and should be scuttled to the trash heap. More guns and military equipment are not the solution to gun violence. Proper regulations and the ENFORCEMENT of those regulations are.
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Sync's Opinion
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11/10/2018
The militarization of schools creates an atmosphere of fear that’s harmful to students’ ability to learn. Common sense gun control is needed, not military hardware.
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Abbi's Opinion
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11/10/2018
Give us fuckin’ gun control instead of militarizing our schools! No more crazy incels being allowed to buy guns!! no more gun toting racist/wife beaters taking out his problems on a synagogue, mosque, school, church, concert, mall... enough is enough! Universal background checks! Reasonable gun laws! It’s practically a mass shooting a day!!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Armed Services
    IntroducedSeptember 28th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 6975?

This bill — the Reinforced Schools Act — would allow states and local governments to purchase equipment for school security activities through the Dept. of Defense (DOD).

Impact

Schools; local governments; state governments; and the DOD.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6975

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Brian Mast (R-FL) introduced this bill to equip schools with the resources they need to defend themselves and their students from active shooter situations and other threats.

In August 2017, President Trump rescinded Obama-era restrictions on local police agencies’ ability to acquire surplus equipment from the DOD, clearing the way for school police to obtain military equipment through the DOD Excess Property Program, known as “1033.” Prior to the Obama administration’s revocation of this program, school district police agencies in at least 22 states used 1033 to acquire equipment.

When announcing the rollback in a speech to the Fraternal Order of Police, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the restrictions “went too far,” and expressed the administration’s commitment to not putting “superficial concerns” above public safety. AG Sessions told the Fraternal Order that President Trump’s executive order would “ensure that [police] can get the lifesaving gear [they] need to do [their] job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence, and lawlessness to become the new normal.” He added:

“One sheriff told me earlier this year about how, due to the prior administration's restrictions, the federal government made his department return an armored vehicle that can change the dynamics of an active shooter situation. These are the types of helmets and gear that stopped a bullet and saved the life of an officer during the Orlando nightclub shooting. This is the type of equipment officers needed when they pursued and ultimately killed terrorists in San Bernardino."

When the 1033 program previously existed, Spring Branch, Texas school district Police Chief Chuck Brawner defended his district’s need for military-grade weapons, arguing that:

“School law enforcement needs to have the tools necessary to mitigate any type of serious terrorist or violent episode that may occur within our jurisdiction. The weapons that have been supplied by the military help level the playing field.”

President Obama implemented the 1033 restrictions in 2015 at an interagency task force’s recommendation after concerns that St. Louis-area police agencies equipped with military gear were too heavy-handed in their response to protestors in Ferguson, Missouri.

When the 1033 program previously existed, civil rights groups strongly opposed the transfer of military-grade weapons to schools. In a letter to the Defense Logistics Agency, the ACLU of Texas and others wrote:

“As education and civil rights advocates, we write to urge you to end the Department of Defense (DOD) 1033 Program’s transfer of military weapons to local school districts and police departments for use in K-12 public schools. Adding the presence of military-grade weapons to school climates that have become increasingly hostile due to their overreliance on police to handle routine student discipline can only exacerbate existing tensions, intensifying overly punitive atmospheres that criminalize and stigmatize students of color… The recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrate the tensions that invariably develop between local law enforcement and the community when military equipment is unnecessarily deployed against citizens. These events also underscore the negative impact of militarization on the already tenuous relationship between communities of color and law enforcement. Arming school police with military weapons poses the same risks to a much more vulnerable population – the nation’s schoolchildren. The increasing presence of police in schools has already proven problematic, particularly for students of color and those with disabilities. Arming school police with military-grade weapons and gear creates the potential to contribute to climates that students of color already experience as hostile, and contributes to the normalization of the criminalization of these youth, worsening educational outcomes, and producing no public safety benefits.”

Texas Appleseed, a nonprofit that advocates for juvenile justice reforms, also opposed the 1033 program in the mid-2010s. Deborah Fowler, then-deputy director of the organization, said:

"Military-grade weapons have no place on our public school campuses. We have already seen the way that much more common weapons – like tasers and pepper spray — can be misused in school settings, and know that excessive use of force in schools is often targeted at young people of color and students with disabilities. We’re simply calling for a return to common sense when it comes to the way our schools are kept safe.”

Similarly, the revelation that the Los Angeles Unified school district’s police department used 1033 to acquire grenade launchers, semi-automatic rifles, and a mine-resistant vehicle sparked protests from community activists, leading the agency to return its equipment.


Of NoteHigh-profile mass shootings at schools, most notably at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have caused parents’ fears about school shootings to increase sharply in 2018. According to a fall 2018 poll by Phi Delta Kappa International, the association of professional educators, only 27% of K-12 parents felt strong confidence in their school’s ability to deter an active shooter, and one in three parents feared for their child’s physical safety in school — a sharp increase from the 12% of parents who felt the same way in 2013.

However, despite these fears, there’s reason to believe the fear parents and students feel is disproportionate to the actual risk of gun violence in school. In spring 2018, the Dept. of Education reported that there were nearly 240 incidents involving school-related shootings in the 2015-2016 school year — a figure that represents less than half of 1% of all schools in its dataset. Moreover, when NPR investigated these figures, it found that only 11 of the 240 incidents were confirmable — suggesting that the actual figure for school shootings may be even lower than reported in the report.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Brett Taylor)

AKA

Reinforced Schools Act

Official Title

To amend title 10, United States Code, to allow States and units of local government to purchase equipment suitable for school security activities through the Department of Defense.

    Of course. Protection for the young people of our nation is a must. If we don’t possess guns, then we cannot protect ourselves from people with guns. Gun control would take away protection from law abiding people. Criminals and psychos will get guns whether they are legal or not. This bill is not militarizing schools. It is giving schools the ability to access more protection. So what do we want? It’s the OPTION of more protection or it’s being FORCED to give up the 2nd amendment. I choose less governmental control over our personal freedom.
    Like (109)
    Follow
    Share
    Schools are not military zones nor should they be treated as such. Schools are supposed to be a place where you set your mind free to explore and learn. A place of personal, emotional, and intellectual growth. NOT a place where terror reigns and a military style presence inhibits growth and learning. This is an absurd proposition and should be scuttled to the trash heap. More guns and military equipment are not the solution to gun violence. Proper regulations and the ENFORCEMENT of those regulations are.
    Like (403)
    Follow
    Share
    The militarization of schools creates an atmosphere of fear that’s harmful to students’ ability to learn. Common sense gun control is needed, not military hardware.
    Like (157)
    Follow
    Share
    Give us fuckin’ gun control instead of militarizing our schools! No more crazy incels being allowed to buy guns!! no more gun toting racist/wife beaters taking out his problems on a synagogue, mosque, school, church, concert, mall... enough is enough! Universal background checks! Reasonable gun laws! It’s practically a mass shooting a day!!
    Like (93)
    Follow
    Share
    How could Congressmen propose filling schools with equipment used in wars without addressing the true issue: guns. If they truly wished to assist students, they would enact legislation mandating waiting periods and background checks and end the right to concealment. Adding more guns to a growing problem can never be the solution.
    Like (59)
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    Gun free zones are the most common target of mentally deranged mass shooters. Eliminate gun free zones!
    Like (59)
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    These are schools, not war zones. If you are so interested in stopping school/mass shooter violence, ban guns! It’s not a complicated idea. All the mass shootings have one thing in common: guns. How hard is it to understand?
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    How about we try some gun control laws first.
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    Schools are institutions of learning, not military instillations. Address the problem: guns. Guns in your home for protection only. The per version of weapon ownership is out of control in this country.
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    Absolutely not. It’s a public school, not a military base. This isn’t that hard guys.
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    Retired teacher here: TSA screening devises, locker down campuses, visitor name tags, NOT GUNS for teachers or principals, cyber protection too
    Like (37)
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    No. We don't need RPG's, Bazooka's, grenades, Gatling guns, and the likes in schools! What a dumb ass concept. Next, we'll be arming toddlers! Our elected officials need to get a backbone and stand up for gun control.
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    This is one of the worst considerations I’ve heard!! Why in God’s name should we even NEED arms in a school?? This is just another way to keep the arms manufacturers and the NRA rich. It’s an abhorrent and detestable solution to the mass slaughters going on in our country. When you have cowards running the country, it seems the answer is always more guns.
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    No, schools should be buying books, science equipment, paying teachers, repairing the schools, feeding the students who can’t have a proper meal, paying for school supplies, and the list goes on. The government needs to pass laws that prevent access to assault weapons, do background checks, and the like.
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    This will only make students aware that schools are not safe and also evades the talk about real gun control.
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    I oppose this bill. Militarization of police is bad enough, and now we want to militarize our schools? Absolutely not. I can see this escalating school shooters into arming themselves with weapons and ammunition that can do even more harm. Keep our schools as community buildings devoted to learning, not castles with armed teachers whose mission is protecting first, teaching second.
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    Our children should not be learning in this kind of environment! Schools are not military zones! Pass an assault weapons ban! Pass red flag laws! Pass a universal background check bill! Get weapons out of the hands of criminals and people with mental issues!
    Like (18)
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    They shouldn’t have the need. Wtf is wrong with this country? Your need to feel like John Wayne to compensate for your other shortcomings is more important than having schools that aren’t war zones?
    Like (18)
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    There is a much cheaper-simpler-safer solution. Over the next election cycle vote out every candidate that has a good nra rating and does not support gun control. Gun control too is simple. Keep your guns but only at hunting clubs & ranges. To get one you have to pass extensive checks including mental health and undergo training.
    Like (17)
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    Our schools need to create fertile ground for young minds to learn, not a place of fear and intimidation!
    Like (16)
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