Aug. 09, 2019 / Weekly Roundup

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Mass Shootings and Public Policy

The recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio have reinvigorated the national discussion on gun policy. Specifically, there has been a renewed call from some for the standard litany of proposed gun laws, e.g., bans on assault-style weapons, universal background checks, closing the “gun show loop-hole” and “red flag” laws. Although well intended, independent data demonstrates that none of these policy initiatives would have any impact on mass shooting events.

The nonpartisan Rand Corporation, a national think tank which analyzes public policy, recently published an in-depth study on gun laws and their impact on violence, including mass shootings. According to Rand, the evidence reveals that all the proposed gun laws would have no impact on mass shootings. It might be instructive to recall that the 10-year national ban on assault-style weapons had no measurable effect on mass shootings or other gun violence. For all the good intentions of those who seek to prevent mass shootings, the proposed gun laws would be unlikely to have any impact on preventing them.

In addition to new gun laws, there are calls for additional spending on mental health. Mental health services may be in need of additional state support for other health reasons; however, there is little actual evidence to support the argument that mass shootings could be prevented by the mere availability of additional government services. Like the demands to impose new restrictions on guns, proposals to increase spending for mental health appear to be based more on a sentiment that the government needs to take action than on actual evidence that government action can or will do anything to prevent mass shootings.

Some social scientists maintain that media coverage of mass shootings may be the leading cause of “copycat” shooting events. I have seen no data that supports that argument; however, I am certain that all media outlets would aggressively defend their First Amendment right to cover mass shootings. Would that the same media outlets would be as concerned about people’s Second Amendment rights.
Slow Down for School Buses, Pedestrians

In the next few weeks, students will head back to class. Motorists, parents and children are encouraged to refresh their memories about how to share the road safely with school buses and other school transportation vehicles.

Pennsylvania law requires motorists stop at least 10 feet away from school buses when their red lights are flashing and their stop arm is extended. Motorists following or traveling alongside a school bus must also stop until the red lights have stopped flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. Do not proceed until all the children have reached a place of safety.

Penalties for failure to obey school bus safety laws can result in a $250 fine, five points on a driving record and a 60-day license suspension.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children are at the bus stop early to avoid rushing. Students should stay where the bus driver can see them while boarding or exiting the bus.

Click here for more information and tips on school bus safety.
Get the Facts About Concussions

With many student athletes gearing up for fall sports practice, students, parents and coaches are reminded about ways to prevent, recognize and manage concussions.

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head, or from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Concussions can have serious short-term and long-term impacts, especially on young people whose brains are still developing.

To protect students, the 2011 Safety in Youth Sports Act was passed to require all school entities to develop return-to-play policies for student athletes with concussions, as well as to require related training for coaches.

Visit the Department of Health’s website at and search for “Traumatic Brain Injury” for approved curricula for coaches and other school personnel, along with frequently asked questions about the law and many other state-related resources.

Most importantly, if you think your child has a concussion, seek medical attention, discuss the injury with the coach and don’t allow the athlete to return to play without permission from a health care professional.
PennDOT’s Schedule for Aug. 12 to 16

• Base repair on Sunset Pike in Greene Township.
• Base repair on South Mountain Road in Quincy and Guilford townships.
• Base repair on Leitersburg Road in Antrim and Washington townships.
• Pipe replacement on Bear Valley Road in Peters Township.

My family has been enjoying Old Home Week in Greencastle. It is wonderful to see former and current residents comes together. I had an opportunity to participate in the parade Thursday.
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