Delegate Rob Krupicka (D-45) has introduced three bills designed to curb gun violence and protect Virginia families.
The package of bills “offer a coordinated first step toward addressing the current problem with gun violence, particularly in our schools,” according to a statement from Krupicka.
“They give new tools and flexibility to communities so that they can better protect themselves from dangerous situations,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with colleagues from both parties on these and other measures to keep our schools and communities safe.”
Bryan Porter, assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Alexandria, said he supports the measures, calling the Reduce Gun Danger Act and Flexible School Security Act “common-sense” and “realistic.”
Del. Krupicka’s office provided the following descriptions of the bills:
- HB 2263, The “Reduce Gun Danger Act,” crafted with the help of law enforcement, will provide the police with a new authority to quickly remove guns from the hands of people who pose an imminent threat to themselves or others. The proposed bill creates a reporting requirement, similar to that used to protect children, to require health and other officials to report cases where a person has made a threat of violence to themselves or others. And the bill further authorizes police to temporarily seize guns from these individuals after an investigation of the threat. This will help police to remove guns from potentially dangerous situations thereby reducing the risk that a tragedy occurs. If someone has made a threat or demonstrated erratic, violent behavior, this bill ensures that the police can act swiftly in confiscating the gun in order to prevent violence and possible tragedy.
- Mental Health First-Aid certification is a proven tool to equip people with the capacity to respond to mental health emergency situations. The bipartisan “Mental Health First Aid“ proposal provides funding for up to four CSB (Community Services Board) staff members in each of the five CSB Health Planning Regions to be prepared as dedicated Trainers in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to be available to the communities/regions, using existing regional management structures. Each dedicated trainer will provide the MHFA Training to 750-1000 individuals every year within CSB regions. The funding will also cover the cost of training materials for each participant. This training should be prioritized to first focus on teachers in all grades along with school personnel. Training should also be encouraged for college and university staff as well as other community members in regular contact with the public. Krupicka has already filed a budget amendment with a number of co-patrons. He will also be filing a companion bill that encourages schools to work with their CSBs to develop mental health training plans no later than the fall 2014.
- The “Flexible School Security Act” is a budget amendment to Virginia’s existing funds for local school districts that wish to make safety improvements to their schools. Instead of only allowing such funds to be used to hire School Resource Officers, the proposed budget language broadens the categories of safety improvements that schools can use the funds for. The funds could be used for School Resource Officers, for one-time physical upgrades to the facility, for cameras, teacher training or other security upgrades determined appropriate by the Board of Education. This fund would provide flexibility and enable schools and parents to work together to determine how best to keep their children safe.
What do you think about Del. Krupicka's ideas? Weigh in by commenting below!