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Ohio Democrats oppose federally funded firearms purchases for teachers

August 28, 2018

Ohio Democrats oppose federally funded firearms purchases for teachers

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Ohio Democratic Congress members Marcia Fudge, Tim Ryan, Marcy Kaptur and Joyce Beatty are taking up arms against the suggestion that federal education money be used to buy guns for teachers to counter school shootings.

The Ohioans were among 173  U.S. House of Representatives Democrats who sent a letter on Tuesday urging U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to clarify that money from her department can’t be used to arm teachers and other school staff.

Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again - a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018

 

Several published reports last week indicated that DeVos is reviewing whether schools can use a $1 billion academic support fund for impoverished schools to buy guns for protection in the wake of a series of school shootings. President Donald Trump has publicly backed arming educators to protect students.

The Democrats want DeVos to clarify by the end of the month that Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, available for a wide range of school expenses, should not be used for gun purchases.Their letter said the federal government has had the “longstanding position” that federal money can’t be used to buy firearms and ammunition as related to school safety.

“Students and school staff deserve a learning environment that is safe, welcoming and conducive to quality instruction and student learning,” their letter says. “Arming teachers would not only jeopardize student and staff health and safety, but also run counter to Congressional intent, precedent and common sense.”

Education Department Press Secretary Liz Hill said DeVos has “no planned action on this issue.”

“If Congress would like to clarify the law, it should take the opportunity to do so,” said a statement from Hill.

At least one Ohio member of Congress backs the idea of allowing specially trained teachers to carry guns in schools to protect students.

Earlier this year, House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan endorsed Trump’s suggestion during a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“Every single church that I know of has that same kind of policy,” the Champaign County Republican said. “They have certain people who are carrying a concealed firearm to protect the folks who are at the service. And I think that makes sense for schools, too.”

 

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