In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton last weekend, two Republicans in the Florida delegation are continuing their push to create a task force to offer a national strategy “to keep communities safe from targeted violence through threat assessment and management.”
At the start of the year, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC, to introduce the “Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act" which, they insist, “would help provide resources, training, and assistance in establishing and operating locally driven threat assessment and management units."
“We must proactively engage with experts in the field of threat assessments in order to help prevent future tragedies,” Rubio said when he brought out the proposal. “We have the expertise to implement systems to identify and stop dangerous individuals before they commit an act of violence, but we have yet to fully and effectively develop and utilize it to prevent future attacks. By bringing threat assessment experts together and utilizing evidence-based behavioral threat assessment and management processes, this bill will help equip our communities with the tools they need to prevent future tragedies.”
The bill will develop guidelines and provide states with the “training, resources, and support they need in order to stand up community-based, multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment and management units" while creating a “temporary task force made up of experts in behavioral threat assessment and management to make recommendations to Congress for a National Strategy for preventing targeted violence.” The legislation has garnered the support of a host of law enforcement organizations including the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) and the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA).
This week, Rubio pushed the proposal again.
“As a father, husband, and American, I am as concerned as anyone about the serious epidemic of violence plaguing our nation. Whether this violence is the product of radical jihadists, white supremacists, or personal grievances, too many killers have taken the lives of far too many innocent Americans. We must confront the societal and cultural issues that breed violence,” Rubio said. “Research has shown that the vast majority of these terrorists and killers exhibit clear warning signs before committing these atrocities. That is why I have offered a number of bipartisan proposals to help identify and stop them before they act. I will continue to push for these solutions and support any new law that can prevent these tragedies.”
Now in his second term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., is backing the House version of the bill which is being championed by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Tex.
“As we mourn the senseless loss of life in Dayton and El Paso, we must also take action to prevent similar tragedies from occurring elsewhere. We need to commit to a serious, bipartisan review of how to avoid guns getting into the hands of unstable people. This is a multi-faceted challenge to our society,” Rooney said. “I am a cosponsor of the TAPS Act, which is bipartisan legislation that offers state and local authorities the same training and support to identify mass shooters as the Secret Service and FBI.”
On the first day of the new Congress, Rubio brought back the “Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act.” He paired up with Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine and U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI, to reintroduce the bill which “will dedicate Department of Justice funds to incentivize states to give law enforcement the authority to prevent individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others the ability to purchase or possess firearms, while still providing due process protections.” Rubio first unveiled the bill in March after the Parkland shooting.
Rooney said he also supported taking Florida’s red flag law to the national level.
“I also support instituting red-flag laws similar to those enacted in Florida following the tragedy at Parkland, and a Violent Threat Restraining Order (VTRO) process that balances the need to interdict dangerous people while preserving due process,” Rooney said this week.