Minnesota lawmakers brainstorm new school safety efforts

While new gun laws are not gaining any traction at the Capitol, efforts to improve school security are gaining speed.

It turns out there are a lot of ideas, and nearly all of them revolve around more grants to allow schools make the security improvements they think they need

"We all had very grievous reactions when the school shootings happened on February 14th down in Florida," said Representative Jennifer Loon.

Among the legislation are two bills offering grants for school districts to conduct security audits of their buildings and their practices.

The discussion comes after yet another shooting in Maryland. In this case, a school resource officer killed the gunman within minutes of the attack.

Two Minnesota lawmakers want to raise the levy limits for school districts to hire more school resource officers if they want them.

"It goes to show that school resources officers are valuable assets, and I believe not enough of our schools have them in their school district," said Representative Anna Wills.

But there's no traction on stricter gun laws.

On Tuesday, a house committee voted not to reconsider a bills on universal background checks and gun violence protection orders, which for now leaves school safety funding one of the only paths forward.
"I think there is broad bipartisan support for providing more support to our school so they can do everything they can to help ensure our students are safe. And that includes everything from maybe securing entrances, making some physical adjustments to their building. But I think even more so, providing support for those students who need it," Rep. Loon said.  

Rep. Loon talked about support in the form of mental health services and more guidance counselors.

But Representative Jim Davne reminded lawmakers that while they are all important, he believes we are not going to keep schools safe until we deal with guns.