New York outlaws only exception allowing students, profs to carry on campus
New York Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill making it a crime for universities to authorize anyone except law enforcement or security personnel from carrying firearms on campus.
“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 following the bill’s signing. “These measures will help slow the proliferation of guns by keeping unneeded firearms out of school zones and helping to ensure unwanted or illegal guns don't fall into dangerous hands."
New York State law already barred the carry of firearms on campus without written authorization from school administrators. This new law prohibits schools from being able to authorize anyone whose primary responsibility is not security from carrying firearms.
“No educational institution shall issue written authorization to carry a firearm to any person who is not primarily employed as a school resource officer, law enforcement officer, or security guard,” the law mandates.
“A person is guilty of criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds when he or she knowingly has in his or her possession a rifle, shotgun, or firearm in or upon a building or grounds, used for educational purposes, of any school, college, or university,” the law reads.
The law also “establishes gun buyback programs to keep firearms off school grounds and ensure the protection of young people,” according to NY Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D).
The movement to arm teachers, which has been supported by the NRA and endorsed by President Donald Trump, gained national attention following the February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed.
S101A is just one of four bills signed by Cuomo in a 24-hour time span that puts further limits on Second Amendment rights in New York, as The Buffalo News reported.
Democrat Sen. Todd Kaminsky, the lead sponsor of the bill, spoke with Campus Reform Thursday.
“While hundreds of districts across the country have decided to arm teachers in response to mass shootings...we said, ‘not here,’” Kaminsky said. “Arming classroom teachers is dangerous and takes our focus off of getting weapons out of the hands of those who should not have them.”
He later thanked Cuomo for his signing off on the bill, claiming that it is a “vital piece of legislation.”
When asked what he is doing to work with school districts and local law enforcement to create response protocols that are more effective in protecting students should an incident occur, Kaminsky did not respond.
"Arming teachers with guns can only lead to additional tragedies,” Democrat state Assembly Member Judy Griffin, who introduced the legislation to the assembly, said. However, many New York Senate Republicans voted against the bill.
“No one in New York is proposing to arm school teachers, and [Kaminksy] knows it,” NY GOP spokesman Scott Reif said, accusing the lead sponsor of grandstanding. “In fact, Senator [John] Flanagan (R), [Senate Minority Leader], is adamantly opposed, and thinks teachers should be allowed to focus on teaching.”
Other New York Senate GOP lawmakers, like Sen. Rich Funke, believe that the bill will inhibit students who wish to participate in gun-involved sports: "I believe it’s going to deprive athletes in our shooting sports the opportunity to compete at the highest level of their sport,"Funke argued in January when the bill was first brought to the Senate floor.
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