WASHINGTON-The House passed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that would enable law enforcement to set a system to alert people, warning them in case of a nearby active shooter.
The Active Shooter Alert Act passed the House in a 269-169 vote. The bill, sponsored by Reps. David Cicilline, D-R.I., and Fred Upton, R-Mich., now goes to the Senate.
In a statement, Cicilline and Upton said an alert could be used in situations such as a Highland Park, Illinois shooting that left six people dead and at least 30 injured at a Fourth of July parade. The suspected shooter was at large for eight hours — giving him the time to drive to Wisconsin and contemplate carrying out another mass shooting.
It could also be helpful in situations such in April, when a suspect was at large for 29 hours after shooting passengers in a Brooklyn subway station, the congressmen said. No one died, but the attack left at least 29 injured, according to New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.
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Cicilline said that when shootings happen, law enforcement officers have to use social media to communicate with communities so that no one “accidentally walks into the line of fire,” which he called “terribly inefficient and dangerous.”
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The bill had support from 43 Republicans. One Democrat, Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., who is not seeking reelection, voted against it.
Upton said in the statement that by notifying the public of an ongoing active shooter threat, “we can help” people stay away and better allow police officers and first responders to “focus on ending the situation and saving lives.”
The Republican congressman said he has heard from police and police chiefs that active shooter alerts can be a “vital” tool to give accurate and “real-time” information to communities. He added that police believe it will help in dangerous shooting situations.
In response to mass shootings across the country in recent months, Congress passed a gun safety bill in June, which President Biden signed into law.
The law enhances background checks on gun buyers 18 to 21 years old and encourages states to develop better “red flag” laws that would deny guns to people who are deemed to be dangerous.
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Contributing: David Jackson
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