MacArthur co-sponsors five-bills to strengthen school and community safety
In an effort to strengthen school and community safety efforts, Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3rd District) has co-sponsored five-bills in hopes of accomplishing that task.
The "Fix NICS Act" requires state and federal agencies to put together an implementation plan to collect all necessary background check info and upload it to the federal system.
The federal government plays a big role in collecting it.
"Whether it's a criminal history or mental health care issues, the federal government is the only one really that can pull that together from all of the states," MacArthur said. "That only works if every agency and every state complies."
MacArthur also co-sponsored, the "NICS Denial Notification Act" which requires the U.S. D.O.J. to notify local law enforcement if someone who's not allowed to have a gun, tries to buy one within that jurisdiction.
To help increase safety efforts in schools, MacArthur co-signed the "School Safety Act" to provide more protection for our kids.
MacArthur says it's an expansion of the "Secure Our Schools" program which provides grants for safety resource officers.
He believes those officers should be the only ones armed in school.
"We need to let teachers be teachers and cops be cops. I do not think we ought to be arming teachers, I think they have a different role," MacArthur said. "I do support having armed police officers in schools.
I do think it's unfortunate we live in a day and age where that's necessary but let's not forget this isn't just the rouge shooter we have to worry about, this is also an era of terroristic activity and we cannot have our schools be soft targets for would be terrorists."
Adding additional officers would cost money, which MacArthur hopes will come in through federal grants to schools.
"This is an area where the federal government needs to help and needs to fund programs so communities can see what works and repeat them across the country," MacArthur said.
While not a bill, he would like to see the "On-Point Program" in Stafford which began in September of 2016 in the Ocean County township and teams up police and social workers be implemented nationwide.
"When a police officer encounters somebody that's exhibiting troubling signs, whether it's a mental health issue, a tendency toward violence or drug abuse...the police officer puts that person together with a social worker and they're able to help that person deal with whatever issues they're facing," MacArthur said.
As part of the implementation he would like to see this program added to schools where teachers get see the red flag and have the student meet with a social worker.
This is comes as MacArthur also co-sponsored the "Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act" which reauthorizes and fully funds the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program.
Gun buyback programs are just one of the ways law enforcement agencies and government officials are trying to prevent further gun violence.
Another comes via a bill co-sponsored by MacArthur called the "Federal Firearms Licensee Protection Act" which, "increases penalties for those who burglarize or rob a gun store."
He says gun stores become targets for people seeking weapons while dealing illicit drugs or turning around dealing the firearms so MacArthur wants to make the penalties more tough.
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