By Gene Zitver
By a vote of 260 to 169, the House of Representatives Wednesday approved the bipartisan Active Shooter Alert Act to create an Amber Alert-like system for active shooter situations.
The bill was cosponsored by Democratic Congressman David Cicilline and Republican Congressman Fred Upton.
The measure would allow law enforcement to deploy the alert system in emergency situations and notify the public about active shooters.
Cicilline and Upton said it could be used in situations like what unfolded after the mass shooting in Highland Park, Ill., on the Fourth of July, when the suspected gunman was at large for eight hours and was able to drive to Wisconsin. Another situation when the alert system could have been used was in April, when a suspect was at large for about 29 hours after allegedly shooting people at a subway station in Brooklyn.
In active shooter events, authorities have had to resort to using Twitter and social media to tell the public about the situation, Cicilline said.
“This is terribly inefficient and dangerous,” he said in a statement. “Law enforcement needs and deserves better tools than Twitter to communicate with the community and the Active Shooter Alert Act answers that call.”
Upton said in a statement that the alert system would allow police and first responders “to focus on ending the situation and saving lives.” He said he heard from “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.”
Forty-three Republicans and all but one Democrat voted YES. For reasons I can’t even begin to guess, Congressman Cline and 167 other Republicans voted NO.
Gene Zitver is the author of ClineWatch.