New York Bans Schools From Arming Teachers

The measure, which goes into effect immediately, includes an exception for school resource officers and other law enforcement staff on campus.

New York has banned schools from arming teachers and other non-security staff under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) Wednesday.

The measure, which went into effect immediately, limits the ability of schools and colleges to authorize teachers, professors and other staff from carrying guns. It includes an exception for school resource officers, police and other law enforcement staff at the school.

“The answer to the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country has never been and never will be more guns, and today we’re expanding New York’s nation-leading gun safety laws to further protect our children,” Cuomo said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has expressed support for arming teachers, even suggesting that teachers carrying firearms receive a bonus. Multiple states, including Florida, have permitted or pushed bills to let teachers carry guns in schools, arguing that it would allow them to quickly respond to armed attackers.

But law enforcement officials and educators warn of the harmful consequences of allowing more guns into schools, including the potential for law enforcement officials to mistake an armed teacher for a threat, as HuffPost reported in 2018.

“While hundreds of districts across the country have decided to arm teachers in response to mass shootings, in New York, we said ‘not here,’” state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D), who sponsored the bill, said in a statement.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a measure Wednesday limiting schools' capacity to arm their staff.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a measure Wednesday limiting schools' capacity to arm their staff.
(Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Another bill that Cuomo signed Wednesday instructs New York police to create standard regulations for bolstering gun buyback programs.

“Arming teachers with guns can only lead to additional tragedies,” Assemblywoman Judy Griffin (D), who backed the school firearm bill in the state Assembly, said in a statement. “While we will always remember the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, this legislation ensures that teachers will never have the burden of choosing between protecting their students or themselves from a violent shooter.”

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