Governor Malloy, teachers urge importance of keeping guns out of classrooms

HARTFORD —  Governor Dannel P. Malloy, State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell, and educators from Hartford and Newtown today held a roundtable discussion on the impact of gun violence in schools.

In a meeting with lawmakers on February 28, President Donald Trump signaled his support for a broad package of gun reforms, including raising the age to purchase weapons, universal background checks, and a “red flag” law that would allow law enforcement to remove deadly weapons from the possession of individuals who are deemed to present a threat to themselves or others.

However, after a meeting with NRA lobbyists, the President put forward a package of reforms backed by the gun lobby that includes a proposal to arm teachers and other school personnel.

Gov. Malloy said in a statement:

“We have seen an average of more than one school shooting a week in 2018. Rather than listening to the hundreds of thousands of students who are standing up and saying ‘enough,’ the Trump administration and their GOP allies in Congress continue to blindly comply with the will of the NRA – and preserve the status quo. We will continue to fight against the president’s ill-conceived and dangerous proposal to put deadly weapons into the hands of our educators, often without adequate training. The role of educators should be to educate, not act as armed security guards. Today, we are here to hear their voices.

“Bump stocks allow guns to fire at machine gun-like speeds and have no place in our state. States like Massachusetts, California, Washington, New Jersey and Florida have banned these dangerous devices, and they have done it with bi-partisan support. Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts’ bills were all signed by Republican governors. Connecticut should follow suit on a bipartisan basis without delay. There is no excuse for inaction on this no-brainer legislation.”

Commissioner Wentzell said:

“Whatever the outcome of the political and cultural issues that are playing out on a national level regarding school safety, it will have a lasting impact on our country – we all need to do our part to make sure it is the right outcome. As a lifelong educator, I believe it is time to shift the national focus on school safety to what we as educators know works: increased social-emotional learning, greater access to mental health services and a commitment to restorative practices.”

Tomorrow the Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing on a bill similar to Governor Malloy’s proposal to ban bump stocks, and the Governor reiterated his call for legislative action to ban bump stocks and other rate of fire enhancements.