The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill with a 260-169 vote to create a nationwide alert system to be used in active-shooter incidents. The Active Shooter Alert Act would establish a network similar to Amber alerts, to notify the public when a shooter is nearby. The bill will now head to the Senate.
Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who co-sponsored the bill, in a statement: “During active shooter events, law enforcement officers are having to take to social media to communicate with the surrounding community so that no one accidentally walks into the line of fire. This is terribly inefficient and dangerous. Law enforcement needs and deserves better tools than Twitter to communicate with the community and the Active Shooter Alert Act answers that call.”
Rep. Fred Upton, R-M.I., who also co-sponsored the bill, said he did so because it has nationwide support from law enforcement officials and organizations: “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.”
Cicilline and Upton introduced the bill in hopes the new alert system could prevent further tragedy in the wake of active-shooting incidents, saying in a joint statement: “The new alert system established under the Active Shooter Alert Act could be deployed during emergency situations like that recently seen in Highland Park, Ill., when the suspected shooter was at large for 8 hours — providing him the time to drive to Wisconsin and contemplate carrying out another mass shooting.”
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