After failing to get enough support last month, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the Active Shooter Alert Act by a 260 to 168 margin on Thursday (July 14). Forty-three Republicans voted for the bill, while one Democrat voted against it.
The legislation creates an Active Shooter Alert Communications Network that would be used to alert people if there is an active shooter in their community.
Lawmakers said that the system, which will be run by the Department of Justice, will allow police and first responders to focus on dealing with an active shooter instead of spending time trying to alert local residents about the threat.
“We have to give law enforcement every tool they need to neutralize these threats and keep our communities safe,” Rep. David Cicilline said. “This bill helps do that in a simple, effective way. It’s not complicated.”
“It simply adds a tool to the tool belt of law enforcement all across the country, regardless of their size or location, to be used voluntarily,” he added.
Some Republicans who voted against the bill argued that it could make things worse by creating panic when the alerts are sent out. Rep. Matt Gaetz questioned what would happen if a stadium full of people got an alert about a shooting several blocks away.
“Would that make the circumstance safer? Of course not. It would lead to stampede, tragedy, hysteria, mistake, perhaps even more death,” he said. “This bill is like yelling ‘fire’ in a movie theater, except the fire is in another movie theater across the street.”