RICHMOND — A task force appointed by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell to find ways to improve school safety after the mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. issued an initial set of recommendations on Thursday, including stiffer, mandatory jail terms for illegal gun buyers, restoring funds for putting police officers in schools, and broadening efforts to deal with mental illness.
Following a meeting here Thursday, the Governor’s Taskforce on School and Campus Safety sent forward 24 proposals for the Virginia General Assembly to consider. Among them was finding money to deploy school resource officers, whose funding was eliminated for the past seven years because of budget cuts.
The panel also voted to increase the penalties for “straw buyers.” These are people whose clean records allow them to purchase firearms from a licensed dealer on behalf of someone whose criminal record or history of serious mental illness disqualifies them from owning guns.