Babin Reintroduces TAPS Act to Protect Communities and Schools from Violence
Bipartisan Bill Promotes Behavioral Threat Assessment to Prevent Targeted Violence and Mass Casualty Events
Washington, January 31, 2019
U.S. Reps. Brian Babin (TX-36) and Val Demings (FL-10) have introduced the Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety (TAPS) Act of 2019 (H.R. 838), legislation that would promote a process of determining the credibility and seriousness of a potential threat and interrupting those who are on a pathway to violence. This process, called behavioral threat assessment and management, was developed by the Secret Service after the assassination attempt on President Reagan. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. Rep. Babin previously introduced this legislation in the 115th Congress.
“I am honored to reintroduce the TAPS Act this Congress with Marco Rubio leading the charge in the Senate,” said Babin. “Our nation is desperately looking for solutions to stop the senseless violence that affects too many of our communities and schools. This bipartisan bill will save lives by focusing efforts on prevention rather than simply reaction, because once the first shot is fired, it is too late. The TAPS Act will provide our states and local communities with the resources, training, and support needed to stand up community-driven, multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment units – allowing us to connect the dots and manage threats before an attack can occur.”
“You should have the right to attend concerts, schools, nightclubs, and places of worship without the fear of violence,” said Demings. “Fortunately, there are promising ideas to prevent targeted attacks before they ever occur. Everyone knows the phrase ‘if you see something, say something.’ Yet state and local law enforcement agencies often lack the tools and resources to analyze and evaluate the warning signs that frequently precede mass attacks. This bill will help law enforcement agencies large and small learn from the best practices of agencies like the Secret Service and Capitol Police to identify and stop violence before the first shot is fired. By modernizing our approach, we can keep every American safer and give each of us the freedom to live our lives without fear of targeted violence.”
“We must proactively engage with experts in the field of threat assessments in order to help prevent future tragedies,” Rubio said. “We have the expertise to implement systems to identify and stop dangerous individuals before they commit an act of violence, but we have yet to fully and effectively develop and utilize it to prevent future attacks. By bringing threat assessment experts together and utilizing evidence-based behavioral threat assessment and management processes, this bill will help equip our communities with the tools they need to prevent future tragedies. I want to thank Senators Sinema and Tillis for leading this effort with me in the Senate and Congressman Babin for his continued leadership in the House.”
The TAPS Act will provide state and local entities the training, support, and resources to utilize this established and proven process. Law enforcement, mental health professionals, and educational entities can work together using this process to prevent and then manage potential threats. Even the Capitol Police has a behavioral threat assessment unit that has successfully mitigated thousands of threats against Members of Congress and staff for more than 30 years.
Click here for a one-pager on H.R. 838.
Click here to view Dr. Babin’s video from the 115th Congress on the TAPS Act.
The following groups endorsed the TAPS Act in the 115th Congress: