SANTA FE – When the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is signed into law Monday, two Santa Fe residents will be at the White House.
Flo Rice was critically wounded during the Santa Fe high school mass shooting. Since the 2018 shooting, her husband and she have been staunch advocates for stricter gun storage and school safety laws.
“It’s a huge honor and it’s a big step forward for safety,” said Flo Rice regarding the new law.
Rice and her husband Scot have been invited to attend the signing of the new law, which calls for enhanced background checks of gun buyers under the age of 21 and hundreds of millions of dollars for crisis intervention and school-based mental health. Along with other Santa Fe families, both worked with families from Parkland and Sandy Hook to support the passage of the bill.
“We have tried to focus on the things that could have changed Santa Fe, so that’s been our goal all along,” said Flo Rice. “Our shooter got his gun from his parents.”
Flo Rice was shot in both legs during the 2018 mass shooting that also claimed the lives of Christopher Jake Stone, Sabika Sheikh, Cynthia Tisdale, Shana Fisher, Jared Black, Christian Riley Garcia, Angelique Ramirez, Kimberly Vaughan, Glenda Ann Perkins and Aaron Kyle McLeod.
“It’s about safe gun storage for us, it’s about accountability for the weapon being housed by the parents,” said Scot Rice. “We want to see safer schools.”
The couple said advocacy is not an easy road.
“You get a lot of kick back and you get a lot of people who attack you if you take a stance,” said Scot Rice. “We really are focused on school shootings, right, and not really on the gun debate.”
However, both said the new law is progress.
“We are happy to see, especially the mental health perspective, going in and helping schools support that and identify these kids before things get out of hand,” said Flo RIce.
Both said they will continue to pressure state lawmakers to enact tougher school safety measures.
Scot Rice said the laws passed during the murders in Santa Fe didn’t go far enough because there are no penalties for school districts that don’t create required multi-hazard plans or behavioral risk assessments.
“It’s definitely Deja vu with Uvalde, and it’s very sad because we fought so hard in the hopes that this would not happen again,” said Flo Rice.