Senator Orrin Hatch calls for ‘commonsense’ school safety programs following Florida shooting

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving GOP senator, is a member of the Senate health care working group

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) spoke on the Senate floor Monday about two proposals he supports, that aim at promoting safety in schools.

Hatch’s first proposal calls for fixing holes in criminal background check systems, in an effort to prevent individuals with criminal histories from purchasing weapons.

The Senator’s second proposal would promote “early intervention and prevention” programs in an attempt to stop violence at schools before they happen.

“Mr. President, now is not the time for argument but for action,” Hatch said. “Rather than letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, I implore my friends on both sides of the aisle to come together for the safety of our children.”

Hatch cited that solutions on the state level can help reduce gun violence. He praised the Utah State Legislature and said that the Safe Utah Program is a tool the country as a whole could utilize.

Hatch sang praise for Utah while on the Senate floor while he spoke:

“Working in the realm of the possible, Utah state legislators have come together to forge bipartisan solutions to stop school violence.  When I was in Salt Lake last week, I learned firsthand about the Safe Utah smartphone app.  The Safe Utah Crisis Text and Tip Line is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through texting and a confidential tip program.  Licensed clinicians, from the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Utah Health, respond to all incoming chats, texts, and calls 24/7 by providing supporting or crisis counsel, suicide prevention, and referral services.

The Safe Utah program—developed with funding from the Utah State Legislature in collaboration with the University Neuropsychiatric Institute, the Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Office of the Attorney General, and the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition—is a testament to what can be done when mental health, education, and law enforcement agencies work together to prevent student violence.”

A full video of Hatch’s speech, along with details on his two proposed strategies to improve school safety can be seen below: