Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education and some Democratic congressmen are calling for a congressional hearing on the recent school shooting which resulted in 17 deaths and injuries to multiple persons. An expelled student from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School allegedly fired his gun and massacred unsuspecting students and faculty. The school is located in Parkland, Florida and the shooting is considered by many as the deadliest in the history of the nation. It seems that this type of gun violence is already becoming a routine in the country.
This recent massacre in Florida incited calls for additional firearms restrictions just like the school shootings that happened in the recent past. But this present shooting incident also provoked calls for an expansion of services for mental health. Apparently, the shooter has previously demonstrated the characteristics of a mentally deranged person. But although calls for more gun regulations were issued in the past, none of them has forced congress to pass a bill that will that will address the mental health problem.
In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, DeVos, the wife of Dick Devos, a prominent businessman and FAA board member, did not give any policy proposal. However she said that the latest shooting incident should induce stronger discussions with regards to solving and pursuing issues in mental health. DeVos also told the radio host that Congress has to hold hearings on these problems. She also said that every time an incident such as this happens, many discussions take place. However, she said that the discussions need to be focused in such a way that lawmakers can really impact the future.
It seems DeVos was able to attract a willing ear in Sen. Patty Murray, the Democratic Senator of Washington. The leading member of Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said that she agrees with DeVos wholeheartedly and suggests that a hearing on the matter of mental health issues be scheduled by her Republican counterparts. Murray said that families in the country are growing tired of lawmakers not stepping up, nor having strong conversations and adopting common sense policies for gun safety to stop this malady in the nation’s communities and schools. She said she is happy that DeVos is requesting for hearings in Congress to tackle this issue.
A leading member of Congress particularly the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Bobby Scott, Democrat, Virginia, together with Suzanne Bonamici, Democrat, Oregon, in a letter, has issued calls for the committee chairman to schedule a day for the hearing of these issues. Other Democrats of the House supported the proposal for the hearing.
In their letter, the committee said that the Parkland high school shooting incident is a preventable tragedy. But it still resulted in 17 deaths of faculty and students. The letter also mentioned the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting that happened five years ago. There were already more than 230 shootings that happened with more than 430 shot according to the letter. Despite all of these, lawmakers have yet to have a congressional hearing that will address these issues since February 2013, the letter also indicated.
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