PROVIDENCE, RI - Earlier today, Governor Gina M. Raimondo came out in opposition to the Trump-DeVos plan to use federal dollars to purchase firearms for teachers. Since she's been Governor, Rhode Island has taken major steps to strengthen the state's gun laws, including new legislation that takes guns away from domestic abusers, a strong red flag law and a statewide ban of bump stocks.
"Guns don't belong in schools and federal education dollars certainly should not be used to purchase firearms. This reported plan won't make our schools safer and will serve only to steal essential funding from our children," Governor Raimondo said earlier today. "As long as I am Governor, I will stand up against the Trump Administration and fight for stronger gun safety laws. I'll fight to change our laws to keep guns out of schools and fight hard to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines."
The leaders of two of the state's largest teacher associations are standing up with Governor Raimondo in opposition to this dangerous proposal reportedly coming out of Washington.
"I am absolutely appalled that Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos would endorse or even allow the use or diversion of federal education funds to arm teachers. Many of our schools are resource-starved. We need every dollar available for additional staff, books, supplies, and technology to improve instruction for our students," said Frank Flynn, President of the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers. "The answer to preventing gun violence in schools is to restrict the presence of guns, not increase it. This idea would make schools less safe."
"Putting guns in schools is the last thing we should be doing," said Larry Purtill, President of the National Education Association of Rhode Island. "Educators do not want to be armed or have more guns in schools. We should be focusing on keeping schools gun-free, providing more mental health services, and listening to educators, students and parents. If you are going to help educators, then provide the materials they need to help every student be successful. That is the goal in RI and we need to do everything possible to keep students safe. This idea does just the opposite."
Rhode Island remains one of just several states that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms into schools. The Governor supports efforts to change the law and prohibit guns from schools, except for law enforcement.