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Oklahoma is taking the lead on addressing mass shootings at schools with a new executive order that Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt says will protect the Second Amendment rights of the state’s citizens while making students safer.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Stitt unveiled the details of the executive order, called “Mission S.O.S.,” or “Secure Oklahoma Schools,” and stressed the importance of addressing mental health issues leading to mass shootings, as well as ensuring law enforcement and teachers were properly trained to handle a mass shooting situation should one arise.
“First off, I don’t believe that you can put our Constitution in the attic and you can ignore the Second Amendment just because of a political whim or because someone at the White House for some reason wants to delete a section of our Constitution,” Stitt said when asked about President Biden’s call for increased gun control measures and recent comments that the Second Amendment was “not absolute.”
“That’s exactly why it’s there. It’s the supreme law of the land,” he added. “We’re going to protect our constitutional rights as Oklahomans, and as governor, I represent all 4 million Oklahomans, and we overwhelmingly support gun ownership and the Second Amendment.”
Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt describes a new executive order addressing mass shootings in schools in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie on Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (Screenshot/Brandon Gillespie)
Stitt explained that after watching the response by law enforcement to the recent mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers, he called his team together and began drafting the executive order with the intention of preventing a similar situation from happening in Oklahoma.
The executive order addresses the training of law enforcement by requiring all state troopers within the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (DPS), as well as Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) certified officers, to either successfully complete DPS-approved and CLEET-accredited law enforcement active shooter emergency response training, or be offered it by a certain date depending on position.
All CLEET-certified basic academies within the state will also be required to include the training in their programs by Jan. 23 of next year.
The executive order also requires the Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI) to coordinate with the DPS to provide annual risk and vulnerability assessments to “every public and private primary and secondary school,” and to provide recommendations to increase school security, at no cost to the school or school district.
The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, the location of a May mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. ((Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images))
In addition, the order provides training opportunities for education professionals on how to preemptively identify mental health challenges with students they work with each day in order to prevent such challenges leading to situations that could place other students in danger.The Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management (BTAM) training will be offered to every education professional in the state by July 2023.
The order also implements the use of the “Rave Panic Button” by Sep. 2022, an app to be accessible on all teachers’ phones that would immediately notify all surrounding law enforcement departments of an emergency to ensure a timely response.
“We want to take practical steps today in Oklahoma to make sure we protect our citizens, we make sure law enforcement is properly trained, properly funded, and that they have all the resources, the tools that they need,” Stitt said. “We wanted to put technology inside the school districts to make sure that our teachers are well-prepared, and that they can identify behavioral issues.”
When asked how likely the executive order would prevent any future mass shootings, Stitt stressed the importance of proper education, as well as family values in the home. He admitted there were some “societal issues” that no piece of legislation could fix, but that he would continue looking at the education system and how homes across Oklahoma were “teaching right and wrong.”
Law enforcement personnel run away from the scene of a suspected shooting near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022. (REUTERS/Marco Bello )
Stitt expressed hope that through the order, Oklahoma would set an example for the rest of the country on how to properly keep people safe while protecting Second Amendment rights.
Stitt’s office filed the executive order with Oklahoma’s Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday.
Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.