Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Today in the Senate I will be introducing the Restoring, Enhancing, Strengthening, and Promoting Our Nation’s Safety Efforts – or RESPONSE – Act. This bill will include a number of provisions to prevent attacks and make our communities safer.

The RESPONSE Act creates nationwide task forces to investigate and prosecute those who are illegally selling firearms, and those attempting to buy firearms who provide false statements as part of a background check.

Second, this bill improves the quality and availability of mental health care. We must do more to identify and support vulnerable individuals who could pose a danger to themselves or others. We know the majority of gun deaths are suicides, and while mental illness is not the prevailing cause of mass violence, enhanced mental health resources are critical to saving lives.

– Texas Senator John Cornyn in After El Paso and Odessa shootings, my plan to reduce mass violence

From Cornyn’s web site . . .

The RESPONSE Act is endorsed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National District Attorneys Association, Treatment Advocacy Center, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, National Sheriffs Association, and Major Cities Chiefs. It would help prevent future attacks by:

Giving New Tools to Law Enforcement

  • Encouraging Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to Better Collaborate with Law Enforcement to Prevent Mass Shootings —Clarifies that internet service providers and online platforms have the authority to share information with law enforcement concerning acts of mass violence, hate crimes, or domestic terrorism.
  • Prosecuting Illegal Unlicensed Firearms Dealers—Creates nationwide federal, state, and local law enforcement task forces (modeled on Project Exile) to investigate and prosecute criminals who are violating current law by engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license or who provide false statements as part of a background check. Provides grant funding and reimbursement to state and local law enforcement who participate in these task forces.
  • Expediting the Death Penalty for Terrorist Mass Violence—Expedites administration of state death penalties for individuals who commit mass murder as part of a crime of international or domestic terrorism by limiting the scope of federal appeals.

Expanding Resources for Mental Health Treatment

  • Increasing Access to Mental Health Treatment and Crisis Intervention Teams —Requires HHS to develop and disseminate guidance for states to fund mental health programs and crisis intervention teams under the Medicaid Program.
  • Expanding Assisted Outpatient Treatment—Expands the ability of states to receive federal funding for assisted outpatient treatment programs so that family members of the mentally ill can help them receive treatment outside of the criminal justice system and before their condition deteriorates.
  • Bolstering Mental Health Funding in the Criminal Justice System—Makes up to $10 million of existing DOJ state and local law enforcement funding available for law enforcement to partner with mental health providers to provide mental health treatment and compliance through the use of long-acting medically assisted treatment.
  • Expanding the Mental Health Workforce—Requires HHS to issue a report to Congress on best practices to expand the number of mental health practitioners and access to care.

Bolstering School Safety for Students and Teachers

  • Incentivizing School Internet Safety to Prevent Mass Violence—Incentivize schools to enforce Internet safety polices that detect online activities of minors who are at imminent risk of committing self-harm or extreme violence against others in order to provide students with the services they need and prevent possible violence.
  • Increasing Access to Active Shooter Training—Increases law enforcement and first responder access to active shooter training funds provided by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security.
  • Assisting School Behavioral Intervention Teams—Directs the Department of Health and Human Services to identify and facilitate the development of best practices to assist elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher education to operate behavioral intervention teams to identify students whose behavior indicates a threat of violence and ensure they receive the assistance and services they need.