VIDEO: Cicilline Urges Colleagues to Support Police, Vote for Active Shooter Alert Act

Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), sponsor of H.R. 6538, the Active Shooter Alert Act, spoke on the House floor ahead of today’s vote on the bill, urging all of his colleague to support this bipartisan legislation.

A transcript of the Congressman’s remarks is below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of this bill that I introduced with my colleague from Michigan, Mr. Upton: the bipartisan Active Shooter Alert Act. And we introduced it along with 14 Democrats and 14 Republicans—fully bipartisan.

This bill is a commonsense piece of public safety legislation that police have asked for over and over and over again.

And we are past due in delivering it to them. And it’s so clear that they need it.

Between 2000 and 2020, there were close to 400 active shooter events with 40 active shooter incidents in 2020 alone. Last year, we saw 61 active shooter events.

We see what this looks like in our communities.

This past April, a shooter gunned down ten people in a New York City subway and then was on the run for 29 hours.

On July 4, another shooter gunned down paradegoers in Highland Park, Illinois and evaded arrest for 8 hours.

And those are just two examples of most recent ones. This doesn’t even include the shooters that were at large for hours and hours in Midland and Odessa in 2019; in the Atlanta, Georgia area in 2021; in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2016, and in too many other life and death situations for our communities.

Active shooter emergencies have become so common that we barely even register them anymore. We have become numb to them and [are] starting to view them as statistics – we cannot let this become normal.

And law enforcement can’t and won’t get used to these horrific incidents because police are the ones who have to respond to every single shooting.

And we have left them to turn to platforms like Twitter and Facebook to let the public know there’s a shooter out there.

And that’s why law enforcement organizations from all across the country are asking for this bill.

Enough is enough.

We want to talk about supporting our law enforcement? Give them what they ask for. Stop acting like you’re experts about responding to active shootings. They are. They risk theirs lives every day doing it.

This bill creates and makes available to local law enforcement an AMBER Alert-like program for active shooter events. It will provide departments with cutting-edge technology to send notifications to our smartphones and to let communities know if there is an active shooter in a certain area.

In addition to this system, the bill calls for the development of best practices so that departments know how to send alerts in the most effective and safest way possible.

We already have this type of alert infrastructure available at the federal level. Let’s maximize its potential to save lives and give officers the tools they need to keep their communities safe.

Developing this kind of technology and infrastructure, and identifying best practices, would be a massive undertaking for many local departments, and for some communities, and they simply don’t have the resources to do it on their own.

And nothing – let me repeat – nothing in this bill is mandatory for law enforcement agencies to adopt.

So, if a local department determines that this program isn’t a good fit for their community, they simply don’t have to use it.

But for the officers out there who do want it, let’s deliver it to them.

We have to give law enforcement every tool they need to neutralize these threats and keep our communities safe.

This bill helps do that in a simple, effective way. It’s not complicated.

It simply adds a tool to the toolbelt of law enforcement all across the country, regardless of their size or location, to be used voluntarily.

When there is an active shooter situation, law enforcement does all they can to keep people in the surrounding area safe. They organize to search for shooters posing the threat. They shut down streets and buildings and provide first response to victims. They go door-to-door to either evacuate or tell people to shelter in place. But that takes time – time that could cost lives.

In these stressful, life-or-death situations, law enforcement are too often relying on social media to warn people so that no one accidentally walks into the line of fire or a crime scene.

Law enforcement deserves better than Twitter to communicate with the community they serve.

And I am proud that this bill has earned the endorsement of law enforcement organizations across the country:
The Fraternal Order of Police
The National Police Foundation
The National Sheriffs’ Association
The Major Cities Chiefs Association
The National Association of Police Officers, and
The National Association of District Attorneys

Just to name a few.

There’s been resounding bipartisan support, and I want to thank all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have supported this commonsense measure.

I want to thank again my friend and colleague, Mr. Upton, for working on this bill and encourage all of you to give law enforcement the tools they need to keep themselves and communities safe. Do not listen to the nonsense about trying to take people’s guns or give the Biden Justice Department [more power]. It has nothing to do with that. It’s about alerting people when there’s a dangerous, active shooting happening in their community so we can save people’s lives. Plain and simple.

I thank the Chairman for his leadership and I yield back.

The Active Shooter Alert Act is endorsed by: National Sheriffs’ Association, Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), National Police Foundation, National District Attorneys Association, Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police & Foundation, North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, West Virginia Chiefs of Police Association, Metropolitan Police Department (Washington, DC).



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