Teachers union calls on Congress to pass gun legislation

Teachers union calls on Congress to pass gun legislation
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The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is calling on Congress to enact a series of proposals the group said would reduce gun violence.

AFT President Randi Weingarten promoted a ban on assault weapons, improved background checks and so-called red flag gun legislation in a letter to Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (R-Tenn.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayHow to downsize the federal education role — without attracting attention Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign Democratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students MORE (D-Wash.), who lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

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“Tragically, too many of our nation’s schools and communities are being terrorized by the effects of gun violence,” she wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill. “We must work to pursue and implement commonsense solutions to reduce these acts of violence.”

“We implore you to consider the following proposals,” she added. “They have been informed by members’ firsthand experiences in schools and communities touched by gun massacres.”

The letter was slated to be sent to the lawmakers Monday. 

The AFT also called for mental health support in schools and measures to address white supremacy. 

“This is what we think will work and let’s have some courage to do it,” Weingarten said of the proposals in an interview with The Hill.

She also said that she hoped parties would "come together" to solve these issues and get "something that's real done."

"Instead of having nothing, it is important to actually have some bipartisanship here,” she said.

The issues raised by the AFT have reentered the spotlight following mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month that left 31 people dead. 

The shooter in the Texas incident allegedly told police he had been targeting "Mexicans."

Following the shootings, many Democrats renewed calls for universal background checks and banning assault weapons. Several Republicans, meanwhile, endorsed the red flag laws, which would allow authorities to seize weapons from those deemed by a court to be a danger to themselves or others. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE has also endorsed red flag laws while sending mixed messages about background checks

Tal Axelrod contributed to this report, which was updated at 1:13 p.m.