Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued the following letter to New York State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia calling on her to reject the use of any federal funding to purchase firearms by any school district in New York.
Dear Commissioner Elia,
Reports this morning indicate that President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are considering making federal funding available to purchase guns for teachers and administrators. This mind-boggling, NRA-approved proposal would do nothing to keep our students safe and would actually put our children at greater risk by making guns more accessible in the worst possible place: our classrooms.
This dangerous and ill-conceived proposal appears to be nothing more than an attempt to pander by a President in search of a diversion. In New York, we're not going to let our children be used as pawns for the President to deflect from his latest legal setbacks.
New York cannot and will not be party to this insanity. I will do everything in my power to prevent guns from entering our classrooms. I write to you to ask that you join me in this fight and reject any attempt by the federal government to put guns in our schools. I call on you to take action and reject the use of any federal funding to purchase firearms by any school district in New York, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.
With this plan, the President is putting the NRA over the lives of our teachers and our students. There is no evidence that giving guns to educators — who are not trained security personnel — will make our schools any safer, but it is clear that making guns more accessible will pose a reckless new and unnecessary danger.
It is particularly repugnant that the federal government is reportedly considering using funding intended for academic and enrichment opportunities in schools serving low-income students. The President wants to take federal dollars away from students in need to line the pockets of the NRA and the gun industry.
This policy represents an astonishing break with federal precedent and an attempt to bypass Congress. In fact, Congress explicitly prohibited spending on firearms when it passed a school safety bill after the school shooting in Parkland this year. It is the federal government's responsibility to keep the people of this nation safe, and yet President Trump has repeatedly abdicated that responsibility in favor of selling more guns.
In the wake of recent school shootings in Parkland and Santa Fe, people across the nation are rising up and calling for real action on gun safety — not arming teachers and putting more guns in schools. As our children prepare for a new school year, we want them to return to safe and secure environments, not weaponized schools.
In New York, we have led the way with the toughest gun laws in the nation, and we won't let President Trump and this federal government take us backward.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
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