The House approved legislation that would create an Amber Alert-style communication network to send mobile alerts to people near active shooter situations.
The Active Shooter Alert Act was approved by a 260-169 vote – with 43 Republicans supporting the measure – on Wednesday night. The legislation now goes to the Senate.
Democrat Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., voted with 168 Republicans in opposing the bill.
Republicans argued that the bill would be ineffective and potentially induce panic in people not in immediate danger.
"Democrats are pushing an 'active shooter alert bill' in response to the Uvalde shooting," Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., posted on Truth Social. "The American people deserve a government that will actually stand up for the virtue of safe, responsible gun ownership, but all you get from Democrats in Congress today is anti-2A fear porn."
The legislation, with bipartisan sponsors, initially passed last month but failed to clear an expedited vote requiring a two-thirds majority.
"This bill is about keeping our communities safe and supporting law enforcement," sponsor Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said in a statement. "By alerting the public to an ongoing active shooter threat, we can help folks avoid the area and better enable police and first responders to focus on ending the situation and saving lives.
"I have heard from our law enforcement and police chiefs that active shooter alerts can be a vital tool to provide accurate, real-time information to our communities, and one they believe will help in these dangerous situations."
Sponsor Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., also released a statement agreeing with Upton that Active Shooter Alerts could assist law enforcement in notifying the public of active shooter events.
"Law enforcement needs and deserves better tools than Twitter to communicate with the community and the Active Shooter Alert Act answers that call," Cicilline said. "This will help ensure that every single Rhode Islander will be better able to keep themselves and their families safe from gun violence."
H.R. 6538 would authorize the Department of Justice to create an office to oversee the Active Shooter Alert Communications Network, which would work with state and local jurisdictions to formulate active shooter responses.
President Joe Biden signed into law last month the first significant gun-safety legislation in three decades.
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