Thompson votes for Amber Alert-style active shooter notification system


(Stock image via Pexels)

Federal lawmakers in the House of Representatives this week voted to approve a measure co-authored by a Solano County congressman that would facilitate an Amber Alert-style public notification system during an active shooting incident.

The measure, called the Bipartisan Active Shooter Alert Act, was co-authored by Congressman Mike Thompson, who represents Vallejo and Benicia.

The bill would require the Department of Justice to appoint an officer who would be designated with creating the Active Shooter Alert Communications Network, which would use the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to notify members of the public about an active shooter situation. The messages would be made available on broadcast radio and television, through push alerts on cell phones and on highway message boards, among other places.

The officer would also help federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement agencies coordinate the best practices for communicating between organizations when responding and notifying the public about a shooting situation.

“As the father of a deputy sheriff, I know how important it is for law enforcement to rapidly distribute accurate information to the general public following a crisis like a mass shooting,” Thompson said in a statement on his website.

The bill came amid a wave of violent mass shootings throughout the country, including the murder of nearly two dozen grade school-age children in Texas and a racially-motivated mass shooting at a supermarket in New York. There have been over 270 mass shootings in the United States since the start of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which counts any incident in which four or more people are injured or killed by a firearm in a single event.

Thompson’s bill did not limit public notifications simply to mass shooting events, but required public notification during any active shooter situations. Public safety advocates say gun-related violence is expected to increase as gun control measures implemented by states are weakened. Such was the case on Thursday, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a New York law that required an applicant show proper cause to get a concealed carry license for a firearm.

Responding to the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom said he would still move forward with signing a number of new gun control measures over the next month, including one that allows victims of gun violence to sue manufacturers in certain circumstances.

“Our state will continue to lead in the fight to keep our people safe,” Newsom said. “California has proven that commonsense gun laws save lives, and we will continue to stand up to those in political power who enable and coddle the gun industry.”

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