Prepared Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
on “Protecting America’s Children from Gun Violence”
June 15, 2022
Like all Americans, I’m truly
heartbroken about the violence in recent weeks across America. From Uvalde,
Texas to Ames, Iowa, shootings are bringing wrenching pain to communities
across the country. The killing of innocent Americans, especially innocent children,
We must work together to pass
legislation that will truly change this situation, while protecting
constitutional rights. There is so much more we can do to protect America’s
First, school safety should remain a top
priority. We must do more to intervene when both children and adults show signs
of distress and other concerning behavior. I know I’m not alone in being
sickened to hear, again and again, that a shooter showed the same predictable
signs that they were mobilizing toward violence. We have to intervene.
One vital piece of legislation is the Luke and Alex School Safety Act. This
bill was named after two victims of the tragic Parkland school shooting. We’re
honored to have Alex’s father, Max, here with us today to speak about his
advocacy on school safety and carrying on his son’s legacy. The bill provides
free information to schools on how to protect themselves.
This bill was recently blocked on the
floor by the majority leader, but I’m hoping we can move it forward very soon.
One way that we can help stop violence
in schools is to pass the EAGLES Act
The EAGLES Act
is named after the
school mascot for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I
wrote this bill after meeting with the families who lost loved ones during the
Parkland shooting and conducting oversight into the failure by the FBI and
local law enforcement to act on credible warnings about the shooter. Thank you
Max, for supporting this bill.
This is a bipartisan bill that would provide
funding to support the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center’s
efforts to conduct cutting edge research into the prevention of violence. The
bill would also enable the National Threat Assessment Center to train more of
our nation’s schools in conducting threat assessments and early interventions.
Unfortunately, this legislation has been
stalled during the last two congresses. I’ve pleaded with my colleagues to help
move it forward this year. What happened in Parkland, and now in Uvalde, should
never be allowed to happen again.
As I’ve stated before, it’s imperative
we keep firearms out of the hands of those who should not have them. This can
be done through my legislation with Senators Cruz and Tillis, the Protecting Communities and Preserving the
Second Amendment Act of 2021. This legislation would improve the NICS
system by incentivizing and ensuring that relevant records are uploaded in a
timely and consistent manner. It would also strengthen criminal penalties for
straw purchasing and lying and buying offenses. If passed, $20 million per year
will be appropriated for five years for NICS improvement.
Mental health has taken a toll on
Americans across the country, more so in recent years due to COVID-19
lockdowns. Students were forced to stay home and kept out of the classroom, and
uncertainty about the future overwhelmed households and businesses. Mental
health issues are also a root cause of many tragedies we see across the
country. Any legislation proposed in the Senate that is looking to impact
change must include resources to address mental health.
We can’t live in a society where
violence is tolerated. In terms of violence and crime, our country has seen
enough. We must take necessary steps to prevent further acts of violence across
When it comes to saving children’s
lives, that means combatting gang violence.
While mass shootings often receive
national attention, there are countless parents who suffer outside of the
spotlight by the terrible ramifications of a nationwide spike in violent crime.
For all those grieving the premature
loss of a child or loved one, I cannot pretend to understand what you have gone
through. But I’m here to listen. I look forward to discussing policy solutions
that keep children safe.