ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Rounds calls for stronger school security following Florida shooting

No answer. No action. Again. In 45 days in 2018, there were 18 school shootings in the United States, capped off by Wednesday's shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed. But no new legislation made real progress on Capitol Hill Thursday in...

South Dakota congressional delegates U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, left, U.S. Sen. John Thune, center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem attend an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)
South Dakota congressional delegates U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, left, U.S. Sen. John Thune, center, and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem attend an event in 2017 at Dakotafest in Mitchell. (Republic file photo)

No answer. No action. Again.

In 45 days in 2018, there were 18 school shootings in the United States, capped off by Wednesday’s shooting in Florida where 17 people were killed. But no new legislation made real progress on Capitol Hill Thursday in response.

During a call with reporters the day after the shooting, U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds turned the attention away from the gun rights debate and threw his support behind the idea of stronger school security.

“But I think it’s come time to where we start talking about what the federal role is to play with regard to toughening up the school locations,” Rounds said. “It can’t all be done at just the local level. I think we’ve got to be able to provide the authorities and probably, as well, some of the resources to have that happen.”

In his home state, at least one security measure is already available. South Dakota schools can implement a “sentinel program” in which a school board may allow the “arming of school employees, hired security personnel, or volunteers.”

ADVERTISEMENT

As he danced around the gun rights debate, Rounds wondered aloud if anything could be done to identify attackers before they commit a crime. He didn’t go as far as pinning the blame for the Florida shooting on mental illness, but he approached the idea.

“He posted stuff on the internet that clearly indicates a very troubled mind, and I think the law enforcement officers down there suggested that it would've been great to identify those folks in advance and to have executed - with the force of law - to go out and find out what’s actually wrong with this individual,” Rounds said about the shooting suspect and his mental health capabilities.

As Rounds mentioned mental illness in relation to mass shootings, Americans experiencing mental illness were not committing school shootings. No school shootings were reported on Thursday morning despite the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ estimate that 43.8 million Americans - or 18.5 percent of the population - experience mental illness in a given year.

Another South Dakota Republican, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, also offered her input following the shooting. Noem said Wednesday she’s “praying for the families grieving” on Twitter. But she offered no solutions or suggestions.

Following Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, former President Barack Obama said the U.S. is not “powerless” in reducing its unparalleled amount of mass shootings.

“We are grieving with Parkland. But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change,” Obama wrote on Twitter.

South Dakota’s longest-tenured congressional delegate also offered some insight after the shooting. But U.S. Sen. John Thune was focused on gathering more information and honoring Wednesday’s heroes.

“While we’re still learning more about the evil that led up to yesterday’s tragic event, our hearts and minds are with the community, the affected families and particularly all of the young, innocent students whose lives are forever changed,” Thune said in a written statement. “Out of this tragedy, we’re hearing stories of hope and inspiration, and my thanks and appreciation go out to all of the citizen heroes and first responders who stepped up during a time of such chaos.”

What To Read Next
Discussion will take place during the 6 p.m. meeting on Monday at City Hall
Lawmakers have said it is likely only one is affordable at this time without cutting programs or adding other taxes or revenue streams
Members Only
Although Mitchell's rates would be increase, the proposed equitable rate structure could lessen the increased costs for residential customers' water and sewer bills.
“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.