On MSNBC, the mother of a Sandy Hook victim highlights bipartisan, common sense legislation to mitigate shooting incidents

Nicole Hockley: “Thoughts and prayers are incredibly important, but if they're not backed up with action, then they're meaningless”

From the February 15 edition of MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle:

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STEPHANIE RUHLE (HOST): You're the managing director of the Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook's Promise is working to make schools safer. For you, this is not about gun control. This is about understanding the person behind the gun. And you point out the similarities here. The community in Broward knew the shooter posed a threat just as your community knew the shooter was a threat in Newtown. But the problem is how to deal with that threat. And this is where you say Extreme Risk Protection Orders. People might not know this. ERPOs are coming into place. What is that? 

NICOLE HOCKLEY (MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAND HOOK PROMISE): An Extreme Risk Protection Order is a really powerful, common sense legislation. What it means is that when you see a threat, if a school is observing a threat, if a family member is observing a threat, if law enforcement's observing a threat, someone who poses a risk to themselves or someone else, then there is a process to temporarily separate them from their weapons until they're out of crisis. And then once they're fine and deemed fit, they can have their weapons back, because guns are not going away.

There's 300 million guns in America. Taking them away is not a solution. Arming more people and putting guns everywhere also not a solution. No evidence to say that that makes anyone safer. Arming teachers and students. Not a great idea. Let's arm them instead with tools and knowledge so that they know how to prevent these acts before they happen. This is what we need to be focused on. Extreme Risk Protections Orders are fantastic legislation. It's a state-led legislation only currently in four states. Nineteen other states are looking at it. Florida needs this. First, we need to teach people how to know these signs, how do you recognize it, and then an ERPO can ensure there's a due process in place to ensure that those signs are then acted on. 

RUHLE: Well then talk through the Stop School Violence Act because it was introduced on the House floor last month. How specifically will this bill help our kids? Because for many of us, if I read another tweet from a lawmaker that says, “My spouse and I send our thoughts and prayers,” I'm going to simply lose it. 

HOCKLEY: I'm with you on that, Stephanie. Thoughts and prayers are incredibly important, but if they're not backed up with action, then they're meaningless. The Stop School Violence Act is an investment in our kids’ future. It is funding for early prevention and intervention programs within schools. It provides funding for anonymous reporting systems so that if a student sees a threat, they know how to take it seriously. They understand what they're seeing. And then there's a tool for them to report it and ensure that it's dealt with. This is funding that we need. We spend so much money as a country on active shooter drills and training. I'm not diminishing the importance of that. Imminent danger is something we need to deal with. But wouldn't it be a much better place for us to be focused on preventing these acts from happening in the first place? 

RUHLE: You tell me, because you live this every day. How powerful is the NRA? When we talk about common sense legislation, when we talk about the devastation -- 18 schools shootings already this year – yet nothing seems to get done. And again, all these thoughts, prayers, tweets, while the NRA continues to fund our government leaders, not just Republicans but in both parties. Why is it that the NRA is as powerful as they are, and there are many responsible gun owners that think that they've gone too far? 

HOCKLEY: I truly believe that the NRA leadership does not speak for the majority of its members. It's an extreme minority voice but a very loud voice and a very organized voice. We need to put up the other options for gun owners and non-gun owners. We need to put up other options to our legislators and say there are things that you need to do that protect our kids now. And it's not about the gun lobby. It's not about gun control. It's not about guns everywhere. This is about what we can do together.


RUHLE: Well, there is something our president can do, and he's going to speak at 11:00 am today. What do you want to hear from him? 

HOCKLEY: I want to hear action. I know -- I'm sure President Trump will be talking about and offering his condolences. This is an incredibly devastating crisis in our country. And all of our hearts are with Parkland. And I'm sure he will say that, but I want to hear his action plan. We've heard his action plan on other elements of crisis in our country. What is he going to do about the problem that we have right now that is killing over 30,000 people every day, that killed 17 beautiful lives yesterday and God knows how many other lives yesterday in shootings that we're not even hearing about. There are things that we need to do. Get the political rhetoric out the door. Get those fights off the table. I'm not interested anymore. It doesn't matter. People are dying and there are actions we can take to save them today and that's what I want to hear from the president.


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