ROCKINGHAM — A Congressman who once represented Richmond County — and aims to again — is proposing to add more resource officers and mental health resources at schools across the country.
Republican U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson on Tuesday filed the STOP II, Secure Every School and Protect our Nation’s Children Act.
The $7 billion proposal breaks down into providing $1 billion for resources officers and $1 billion for guidance counselors, with the remaining $5 billion “for hardening schools, active shooter training, and training for law enforcement, school officials, and students to intervene before a student reaches a breaking point,” according to a press release.
According to Hudson’s office, the funding would come from unused COVID-19 funds.
The legislation comes two weeks after a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers and left 17 others injured.
“As a dad of a child in elementary school, I want to do everything possible to protect children in schools,” Hudson said in a statement. “Instead of gun control that threatens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, this legislation is targeted to make schools safer, improve mental health, and save lives.”
On May 30, Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York introduced the Protecting Our Kids Act which would, among other things: raise the firearm purchasing age to 21; require that all firearms are traceable; revise storage laws and offer safe storage grant programs; and revise laws regarding “large capacity ammunition feeding devices.”
That bill is co-sponsored by 177 Democrats and is supported by President Joe Biden.
Hudson called that bill a “missed opportunity to achieve real progress.”
“Many are saying ‘do something.’ I say let’s do something that matters,” Hudson said. “The STOP II Act will actually prevent school shootings and is one of numerous solutions by House Republicans to address the problems we face.”
According to Hudson’s office, his bill builds on the STOP School Violence Act passed and signed into law in 2018.
Under his bill, schools would be able to apply for grants under the previous act “to complete risk assessments and identify gaps in mental health services for students.”
Hudson’s bill also “requires federal agencies to continuously update, develop, and provide training materials on bullying and cyberbullying, emergency planning, mental health, and targeted violence to help schools prevent, protect, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a range of school safety threats, hazards, and emergency situations.”
The text for Hudson’s bill was not available on Congress.gov as of 2 p.m. Tuesday.
So far, 24 other Republicans have co-sponsored the bill, including fellow North Carolina Reps. Greg Murphy of the 3rd District and David Rouser of the 7th District.
Hudson currently represents the 8th Congressional District.
The congressman recently won the Republican primary for the redrawn 9th District which now comprises Scotland, Hoke, Lee, Chatham and Randolph counties in addition to northwest Cumberland, western Harnett and a sliver of eastern Richmond. He will face state Sen. Ben Clark, D-Hoke, in November.