U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke on the floor of the U.S. Senate about the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and to introduce the EAGLES Act of 2019.
Below is the transcript of his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Mr. President, I come to the floor today to take a moment and remember the tragedy that occurred a year ago at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
One year ago today, on Valentine’s Day, seventeen innocent lives were lost at the hands of a troubled, evil young man who entered a high school and opened fire.
The tragedy in Parkland cannot be forgotten.
We in the Senate cannot afford to forget such senseless acts of violence, and instead must continue to fight to prevent dangerous attacks in our country and our schools.
I remain dedicated to keeping weapons out of the hands of those who seek to harm others.
That is why I am proud to reintroduce the EAGLES Act of 2019.
Along with Senators Rubio, Scott from Florida, Jones, Manchin, and Gardner, I am reintroducing a piece of legislation today that proactively works to mitigate threats of violence on school campuses.
The EAGLES Act is named after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Mascot, the Eagles.
It reauthorizes and expands the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center which is used to study targeted violence and develop best practices and training to identify and manage threats before they result in violence.
This legislation also allows the Secret Service to focus a significant portion of its efforts directly on school safety by equipping communities and schools with training and best practices on recognizing and preventing school violence.
In the wake of the Parkland shooting, there has been a flurry of activism, opinions, and action on the issue of gun safety, gun violence, and rights guaranteed to law abiding citizens under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
It’s our obligation as members of Congress to discuss issues, shortcomings, and room for advancement.
The EAGLES Act is part of the solution to prevent future violence in our communities.
This past year in the Senate, we took important steps to address gun violence and solutions to prevent future attacks.
Through investigations, hearings, oversight of federal agencies, and legislation, I worked with my colleagues to shed light on the issue and seek solutions.
For example, last Congress, two instrumental pieces of legislation to help protect Americans from future acts of violence were signed into law.
The first was the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act, which provides funding to schools to strengthen their infrastructure to make it more difficult for shooters to enter schools.
The other bill signed into law was the Fix NICS Act.
This law penalizes federal agencies who fail to comply with the requirements in current law to report dangerous individuals and violent criminals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
These laws enjoyed bipartisan support and will help keep our communities safe.
As former Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I also held a number of hearings on gun violence, one which specifically addressed the government’s role and failures in preventing the Parkland shooting.
It was because of the lack of government coordination, successful identification of threats, and mitigation of dangers that I introduced the EAGLES Act last Congress.
As we learned in the hearing following the Parkland shooting and through subsequent investigations, there was much more that should have been done to prevent the Parkland shooting from happening.
There’s still more to do to address the issue of targeted violence.
I expect my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will continue to propose solutions.
It’s a conversation worth having.
We should find more ways to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals while still protecting important constitutional rights.
It’s in that spirit that I am reintroducing the EAGLES Act.
By passing this Act, we can do more to assess threats, train communities and schools, and prevent violence.
We cannot undo the tragedies of the past, but together we can do a better job to prevent future tragedies.
I look forward to working with my colleagues on this important priority.
I yield the floor.