Gun control, teacher groups threaten legal action against DeVos gun funding proposal

Gun control, teacher groups threaten legal action against DeVos gun funding proposal

Gun control, teachers and civil rights groups on Friday released a joint press release threatening legal action against Education Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosColleges, universities seeing rise in sexual assault claims, lawsuits Support for educational choice continues to grow Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE and the Department of Education over a controversial proposal to allow states to use federal funding to arm school staff.

Members of the coalition include the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the American Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center and Democracy Forward.

“It is outrageous to think of using federal funds to buy guns for teachers at a time when underfunded schools can’t even afford school supplies. Everyone agrees that our schools should be safe, welcoming environments, but having educators do double duty as sharp shooters won’t make anyone safer,” Adam Skaggs, chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in the release. 

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“We will fight this unlawful proposal to spend taxpayer dollars on guns for our kids’ classrooms every step of the way,” he added.

The plan to allow states to allocate federal funding for firearms, which was reported earlier this week, would break a longstanding federal government precedent of not paying for weapons in schools.

“We knew Betsy DeVos wanted to gut and privatize public education, but her decision to consider turning the federal government into an arms dealer for schools goes far beyond the recklessness we thought she was capable of. Flooding schools with guns will make kids and teachers less, not more, safe,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said.

“Secretary DeVos’s proposal is not only flatly absurd, but is likely illegal. Congress mandated that federal monies be used to advance student learning not purchase weaponry for teachers,” Corey Ciorciari, policy and strategy director for Democracy Forward, added.

Following the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead, President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE came out in support of arming teachers in schools.

"If they go into a school, a gun-free zone is like target practice for these guys. They see that and that's what they want. Gun-free zones are very dangerous,” the president said.