Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assemblywoman Judy Griffin’s legislation (S.101A /A.1715) to prohibit teachers from carrying guns in schools passed the New York Legislature. Governor Cuomo, a staunch supporter of the bill, is expected to sign it into law.
Kaminsky first introduced the legislation after the federal government called to arm teachers instead of passing common-sense gun control in the wake of the Parkland school shooting. Under New York law, a school district may authorize an employee to carry a firearm on premises. Senator Kaminsky’s bill would limit such authorization to licensed security guards and school resource officers, thereby ensuring teachers are not forced to be armed in class.
“While hundreds of districts across the country have decided to arm teachers in response to mass shootings, in New York, we said, ‘not here,’” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “Arming classroom teachers is dangerous and takes our focus off of getting weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them.”
“It seems like every day we wake up to headlines of another mass shooting, another horrific gun crime,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “The madness has to stop. It is our responsibility to protect our communities, our schools, and to keep all of New Yorkers safe. Following years of inaction on common sense gun safety legislation, we are finally going to lead the way and serve as an example to the nation on smart gun laws.”
“In order to address the scourge of gun violence in our schools, it is critical that we enact common sense gun legislation while simultaneously increasing access to mental health treatment. A proactive approach is necessary to save lives and reduce the detrimental impact the imminent threat of violence has on our children,” said Assemblywoman Judy Griffin. “Teachers are trained to educate students, not to defend them with firearms in the classroom. Arming educators is not a viable solution since it increases the risk of accidental injury or death while creating an atmosphere of fear and stress.”
Following the Parkland shooting, President Trump called for teachers to be armed in classrooms, a proposal that was echoed in a report issued by a state commission that investigated the massacre. According to a recently released VICE News investigation, since Parkland, at least 215 school districts across the nation have adopted policies to arm teachers.
Senator Kaminsky has been a staunch advocate for common sense gun safety laws to protect the public. In addition to this bill, the Senator also cosponsored legislation which successfully passed the Legislature to ban bump stocks, empower courts to revoke weapons from dangerous individuals, and expand background checks.