The House Committee on Homeland Security has passed a measure introduced by Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), which would prohibit the purchase of firearms for teachers with anti-terror funding. Specifically, the bill would block the use of State Homeland Security Grant Program and Urban Area Security Initiative Program grants to purchase firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories for any purpose. The measure’s passage follows months of behind-the-scenes work since Rep. Demings originally proposed it in March.
Rep. Demings said she is “horrified at the idea of arming teachers as a so-called ‘solution’ to the problem of school shootings,” and called the arming of teachers a shift in governmental responsibility– “as well as the hurt, pain, guilt, and possible liability when they find themselves out-skilled and out-gunned in active shooter situations, with our children in the crossfire.”
Demings says she believes in an effective partnership between lawmakers and law enforcement agencies.
“Lawmakers must continue to work with law enforcement agencies to stop gun violence. I believe in prevention, not triage. What our teachers need is not guns in their classrooms, but laws that keep guns out of the hands of bad people.”
For years, it has been FEMA’s policy to prohibit “the purchase of weapons and weapon accessories, including ammunition” with Homeland Security grant funding. However, this is a standard practice, not a legal requirement.
Demings sees the issue of teacher arming in the context of the FEMA policy. “Most teachers would refuse if offered the choice to carry a firearm,” she said. “Arming teachers would place an added burden on our overworked and underpaid teachers, and would undermine the bond of trust between them and their students. It is even worse that this harebrained idea would be funded by desperately-needed anti-terror funding.
“I am pleased that my proposal is one step closer to law, and will continue to push until the Trump Administration is forbidden from carrying out this ridiculous idea.”
59% of Americans oppose training teachers to carry guns.
Three fourths of teachers say they would not bring a gun to school if allowed to.