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U.S. Representative Val Demings

Representing the 10th District of Florida

Rep. Demings’ New Bill Would Block Arming Teachers with Anti-Terror Funding

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March 14, 2018
Press Release

Last night, Rep. Val Demings (FL-10), introduced a new bill, the Secure Communities and Safe Schools Act, which would prevent the Trump Administration from using anti-terrorism funding to give guns to educators. Specifically, it would block the use of Homeland Security grant money and Urban Area Security Initiative grant money for that purpose.

Rep. Demings originally planned to offer the proposal as an amendment to another bill. However, the Homeland Security Committee Chairman withdrew that bill from the business meeting agenda rather than allow Rep. Demings’ amendment.

Refusing to take no for an answer, Rep Demings has introduced her own bill.

Said Rep. Demings, “Giving guns to teachers to stop school shootings is preposterous on every level.

“First, we should prevent mass shootings, not complicate them. As the former Chief of the Orlando Police Department, I can tell you that having multiple armed individuals present in an active shooter event only complicates the response. Arming teachers would lead to taxpayer-sponsored shootouts, endangering out-skilled and out-gunned teachers, and putting children in the crossfire.

“Second, teachers want to be teachers. A national survey of teachers found that most would refuse if offered the choice to carry a firearm. Many have said they would quit.

“Third, arming teachers could severely hurt our children’s education. Effective educators have a bond with their students—an understanding that teachers are safety nets, confidants, a parental figure in a home away from home. We should never engage in any action that would jeopardize that relationship. 

“And finally, every dollar we spend arming teachers with anti-terror funding is a dollar we cannot spend on terrorist threats. Terrorist threats are ever-evolving, and our local governments and law enforcement need federal support. To redirect scarce funds into this absurd proposal is reckless and unacceptable.”

Background

Rep. Demings’ amendment would have been added to H.R. 4627, the “Shielding Public Spaces from Vehicular Terrorism Act.”

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.

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.

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