Ron Johnson silent on background checks following the Uvalde shooting but pushes bill for a clearinghouse on school safety

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After this week's devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson made an effort Wednesday to codify a national clearinghouse on school safety.

But the Oshkosh Republican gave no indication if his long opposition to universal background checks for firearm sales had wavered in any way, silently walking away from a CNN reporter in Washington, D.C., when questioned about the issue.

During a speech on the Senate floor, Johnson made his push for The Luke and Alex School Safety Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to collect feedback and data on best practices for "improving the health, safety and welfare of individuals in school settings."

The bill is named after Luke Hoyer and Alex Schachter, who were killed in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018.

The clearinghouse already exists; the bill would codify it into law.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

"Today, America grieves," Johnson said. "There's nothing partisan about it."

"There's nothing partisan about this bill whatsoever," Johnson said. "It's just a good idea that could save lives. ... During the previous administration, they set up that clearinghouse. It's up and it's operating."

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Johnson asked for the measure to be passed by unanimous consent.

But he was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, who vowed: "We are going to vote on gun legislation."

"The American people are tired of moments of silence, tired of the kind words offering thoughts and prayers," Schumer said.

Instead, Schumer said he would use another bill, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, "to begin considering gun safety amendments," and could consider Johnson's proposal in the process.

Johnson responded, calling it "a sad day for the United States Senate."

Max Schachter, whose son Alex was killed in Parkland, Fla., later tweeted to Schumer: "The bill will save kids lives. Let’s meet to work together to prevent the next Uvalde and Parkland."

More: All 3 Republican candidates for Wisconsin governor would eliminate concealed firearm permits that require training

More: Bice: Billionaires Diane Hendricks and Uihleins pump $3.5 million into new group backing U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ron Johnson silent on gun laws, pushes Luke and Alex School Safety Act