North Country Assemblywoman Jenne: Legislation will help protect students from school violence
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 11:44 am

North Country Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, says she helped pass common sense legislation aimed at reducing violence at schools.

"This package of bills is simply about public safety and keeping guns out of the hands of those that shouldn't have them by providing time for background checks, a legal way to flag someone for further scrutiny if they pose a safety risk and, of course, addressing bump stocks," she said.

She said she knows schools in the North Country have implemented a number of security improvements in recent years and bolstered their partnerships with law enforcement agencies.

"But I am happy to explore additional steps we need to take to provide our schools with the resources they need to address security issues, like personnel, additional technology and building improvements," the assemblywoman noted.

"I look forward to working with our partners in state and federal government on multi-faceted pieces of legislation that can help make our schools safer," she said.

"I know schools that have had school resource officers in their buildings have found it to be beneficial, and we know there is a need to direct more funding to expand the availability of mental health services for our students. It is critical we put as much focus on providing the additional mental health services necessary to meet the needs of our students as our other measures," the assemblywoman stressed.

She said the state needs to back up that support for school safety by putting allocation in the budget to fund those programs and capital improvements.

"These new or expanded programs have to be funded with the real dollars needed to address serious concern, not just feel good legislation with an uncertain or optional revenue stream," Jenne said.

The package of legislation Assemblywoman Jenne helped pass Tuesday includes a bill creating an “extreme risk protection order,” which allows a law enforcement official or family member to request that a person deemed dangerous be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for up to one year, at a judge’s discretion (A.8976-B).

Five other states currently have similar “red flag laws” and this will go a long way in thwarting heartbreaking situations before it’s too late, Jenne noted.

The Assembly also passed legislation to ban bump stocks and similar devices that, when added to guns, increase their capacity (A.9958). A bump stock was used by the shooter in Las Vegas last October. While New York State law already prohibits the attachment of bump stocks to rifles, the sale and possession of the devices have remained legal.

Assemblywoman Jenne also helped pass legislation that extends the length of time before a gun is delivered to a purchaser whose background check has not been completed, to allow for a more thorough investigation (A.2406).

Another measure requires out-of-state citizens who also have homes in New York to waive the confidentiality of their home state mental illness records when purchasing firearms in New York (A.9978).

"These are common sense pieces of legislation that will have no impact on the vast majority of gun owners in the North Country and around the state," Assemblywoman Jenne said. "These bills will help keep guns out of the hands of troubled individuals so we can protect our kids’ lives and innocence.

“We know there’s no simple answer to prevent gun violence. That’s why we have to look at all sides of the issue to make sure we’re closing up the loopholes that let people who shouldn’t have guns manage to get them and take other steps that can help protect our students when they are at school," Jenne stressed.