U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is once again pushing legislation giving the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) more of a role in stopping school shootings, this time with the help of new U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
Last year, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, then U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and then U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to bring out the “Eagles Act,” named after the mascot of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The proposal reauthorizes the NTAC and gives it new authority to study school shootings and how to prevent them. The bill also creates a national program on targeted school violence prevention and funding for training to prevent school shootings. If the bill becomes law, the Secret Service would be in charge of this expansion and would have to report on its progress to Congress.
Rubio, Grassley, Scott, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., U.S. Sen. Cory Gardiner, R-Col., and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, brought back the proposal this week. Nelson was defeated last year and Hatch retired after more than four decades in the Senate.
“To prevent future tragedies, we must be proactive and utilize a multi-pronged approach to identify and stop any threats,” Rubio said on Wednesday. “This bill will help ensure we are more effectively leveraging the top-notch research conducted by the experts at the National Threat Assessment Center to stop school violence and help keep our communities. This bill will expand threat assessment programs so that more school districts can be trained to identify threats and properly intervene. I thank Senator Grassley for his continued leadership on this legislation. I urge my colleagues to join this worthy effort and quickly pass this bill.”
“Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and our hearts are heavy as we remember the 17 victims,” Scott said. “I will never stop fighting for the safety of our children at school and in our communities, and I am happy to support the Eagles Act to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.”
“As an avid outdoorsman and responsible gun owner, I believe that there are common sense steps we can take to prevent gun violence and keep students safe. One of these steps is the Eagles Act, which expands the role of the National Threat Assessment Center to provide research, resources, and training to prevent targeted violence. I look forward to partnering with Senator Grassley and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure this legislation becomes law,” Jones said.
For its part, the U.S. Secret Service welcomed the legislation.
“The United States Secret Service is very pleased to see the reintroduction of the Eagles Act. This act will further support our efforts to mitigate all forms of targeted violence through comprehensive threat assessment programs. The Eagles Act will allow us, through our National Threat Assessment Center, to enhance our collaborative efforts with federal, state, and local partners in the areas of training, consultation, research, and information sharing. The Eagles Act is a proactive step aimed at reducing targeted violence within our communities,” the U.S. Secret Service noted in a release.