The House Committee on Homeland Security passed a measure introduced by Rep. Val Demings which would prohibit the purchase of firearms for teachers with anti-terror funding. Specifically, it 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.
“As the former Chief of the Orlando Police Department, I am horrified at the idea of arming teachers as a so-called ‘solution’ to the problem of school shootings,” said Rep. Demings. “Arming teachers only shifts our responsibility to them, 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.
“Lawmakers must continue to work with law enforcement agencies to stop gun violence,” she continued. “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. Most teachers would refuse if offered the choice to carry a firearm. Many have said they would quit. 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.”
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.
“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,” Rep. Demings said.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a former DHS official, asked the president to look at using DHS grants for funding. 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.