Washington—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten released the following statement on the introduction of legislation in Congress aimed at curbing gun violence.
"America's duty is to provide safe and secure public schools for every child, and the reasonable gun violence-prevention legislation introduced today by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Diana DeGette will go a long way to make that a reality. We call on Congress to pass this legislation. Every parent, every educator and every child should feel that schools are safe, secure environments.
"The Sandy Hook assailant was armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act would ban the production and sale of the high-capacity ammunition clips used in this horrific attack. Large-capacity ammunition magazines are not designed for hunting or for self-defense. They are designed to shoot mass numbers of people quickly without reloading. They should be banned, and this measure and other reasonable gun violence-prevention measures must be a priority in the 113th Congress.
"This is not the first time this legislation has come before Congress, but this time it must be enacted. Last month, 20 children and six educators fell victim to gun violence in their elementary school. After spending the last two days in Newtown, Conn., I beseech our elected leaders to heed the lessons of Sandy Hook and pass these reasonable gun violence-prevention measures swiftly.
"Public schools must be places where teachers can safely educate and nurture our students, and this bill is a significant step toward ensuring that all of our children are safe."
The AFT supports commonsense gun-control legislation, including banning assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring thorough background checks and ensuring that gun owners keep their weapons secure. We are pleased to see that some measures addressing these concerns have already been proposed in the new Congress. The AFT also calls on lawmakers to address our collective responsibility to help those who are suffering from mental health issues and to take swift action to make mental health services more accessible to those in need.