Idaho’s legislative leaders say more needs be done to help prevent school shootings, bucking comments made last month by Gov. Butch Otter.
Shortly after the Parkland, Florida school shooting in February that left 17 students dead, Otter said the state has “done what we can do” to prevent something similar from happening here.
But in a press conference Monday, House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding (D-Boise) said there’s plenty that could be done aside from arming teachers and installing surveillance cameras in schools.
“There’s something else going on and it has to do with the fact that we have background checks that aren’t always done correctly and mental health challenges within our community that are so substantial that people think it’s a good idea to go into a school and shoot unarmed people,” Erpelding said.
Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) agreed that expanding access to mental health care is one way to help, but that a complete solution to stemming gun violence is multifaceted.
“This is a complex question. Everybody’s got a simplistic answer,” Hill said. “It’s not just gun violence, it’s suicide, it’s bullying, it’s lack of respect for educators.”
He notes more needs to be done to strengthen family relationships, which he says could help avoid these types of problems.
Neither lawmaker signaled that any type of bill relating to curbing gun violence would appear before they hope to gavel out of session this month.
Across Idaho Tuesday, schools are preparing for student walkout demonstrations in response to the Parkland shooting, with a protest expected at the state capitol.
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