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Lankford Statement on Safer Communities Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today issued a statement following his no vote on the Safer Communities Act, the proposed gun legislation being rushed through the Senate this week:

“As a nation, we should expect that every child can go to school safely. This bill wasn’t just mental health and school safety; it also created new gun limits in ways that will not solve the problem and does not protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. It incentivizes states to adopt red flag laws, which often treat individuals as guilty until proven innocent. The bill blocks unspent COVID money from going to arm or train security on school campuses or allowing schools to use the billions of dollars they received in the past year for school safety. Additionally, the bill, which is supposedly meant to protect children, gives an option to expand access to abortion services and abortion counseling on school campuses. Why is there an option for states to fund abortion in school health centers in a juvenile mental health and school safety bill?

“I have stated throughout this process that we need to confront what is really happening in our nation when young men feel so isolated that they choose inexplicable violence in our schools, grocery stores, or churches. Today’s bill does take some positive steps including additional funding for school safety and mental health and increasing penalties for illegal firearms trafficking. We have a moral responsibility as Americans to respond to this moment while not jeopardizing clear constitutional rights.”

Lankford introduced an amendment to the bill that would have ensured provisions of the bill could not be used to promote abortion at schools using federal, state or local dollars while also strengthening compliance with parental involvement laws. But it was not allowed to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Earlier this month, Lankford introduced the Safe Schools Act, which would allow schools to use billions of dollars of unspent COVID relief money for security measures, including locks, panic buttons, individual room security systems, video surveillance, and the salaries of armed school resource officers. The bill would simply exempt expenses for school security improvements from requirements that expenses be related to only COVID-19. It is right for school safety dollars to go to any and all safety measures to keep our kids safe.

Lankford applauded the victory for the Constitution after the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision written by Justice Thomas in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen, which held that “New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public.”