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Gohmert to push for Kari's Law

By Robin Y. Richardson
Dec. 27, 2013 at 10 p.m.

<p>Louie Gohmert</p>

U.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said Friday that he has heard the cries of the family of Kari Hunt Dunn who is petitioning for the implementation of an enhanced 911 system at all hotel chains, and is currently researching ways he can help make the request become "Kari's Law."

"I'm serving the people of East Texas and when we get that kind of outpouring from so many constituents I want to do anything I can to help, especially in a situation like this where a child is in a situation and have been taught to dial 911 and can't get it done," Gohmert, who represents Congressional District number 1, said in a telephone interview Friday.

Kari, the 31-year-old daughter of Cindy Kopecky and Al Kopecky, of Marshall, and Henry "Hank" Hunt and D.J. Hunt, of Winona, was stabbed to death on Dec. 1 by her husband, Brad Allen Dunn, 35, at the Baymont Inn Hotel in Marshall, in front of their three young children. The oldest child, age 9, attempted to dial 911 during the struggle, but was unsuccessful because she didn't realize she had to first dial a number in order for the call to go through.

As a result, Kari's father Henry Hunt launched the petition, which is addressed to Gohmert and members of the U.S. Congress; pushing for the proposed "Kari's Law" to ensure any person needing emergency assistance at any hotel or motel in the nation can easily dial 9-1-1 and connect automatically to a dispatcher without obstacles or delays.

Gohmert said he's onboard with coming up with a solution, and other members of Congress have voiced their support, too.

"We've been looking at it… been doing some research," said Gohmert.

And once they figure out the best way to implement such a system, it won't be hard to get others on board in order for the law to pass, he thinks.

"I've talked to some other Congressmen interested in helping get something done," said Gohmert. "We've been looking at the law and talking to carriers."

The Congressman said the implementation of an emergency 911 service was originally a local and state by area code issue.

"In 1999, the public government got involved," he said, referring to the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999, which directed the Federal Community Commission to make 911 the universal emergency number for all telephone services.

"But, we're also looking at what would be the most effective way to do it without overburdening businesses," Gohmert said of requiring a nationwide Enhanced 911 system that the petition launched by Kari's family calls for.

He said they are looking at finding ways to resolve the problem abroad – beyond just the hotel and motel chains.

"It's not just hotels that have a '9' or a prefix (number required) before you get an outside line," said Gohmert. "There's many businesses. So we want to make sure a child never experiences the inability or horror of not getting emergency help, and to do it most effectively.

"We don't want businesses to be out of a bunch of cost where they have to lay off a lot of employees," he said. "But certainly, we want to get something done.

"As the family has stated, they want to make sure the death didn't occur for nothing… that some good comes out of it," said Gohmert.

"That's such a wonderful, Christian, American way to look at things," he said.

A link to the petition can be found on the Facebook page "Change it for Kari." The petition can also be found at www.change.org/karislaw.

The petition calls for the enactment of "Kari's Law" that will require all hotel and motel operators to change the telephone system that would require anyone desiring an outside line to dial an "8" first, freeing up the number 9 for dialing 911 emergency numbers.

As of Friday evening, 5,868 supporters had signed the petition.

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