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Resolution in favor of gun safety

WHEREAS, the prevalence of gun violence and the increasing frequency of mass shootings — including school shootings — presents a rising threat to the safety and wellbeing of people throughout the United States; and

WHEREAS, these mounting dangers are acute symptoms of the growing pervasiveness of and easy access to guns, including weapons of war; and

WHEREAS, gun violence is pervasive in particular New York City neighborhoods and communities, exposing some of our students and their families to trauma, and

WHEREAS, in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Donald Trump suggested issuing concealed-carry permits to teachers on school campuses; and

WHEREAS, schools are places of learning and must be sanctuaries where parents and the community know that children are as safe as possible; and

WHEREAS, bringing guns into schools — in the presence of children, and in the hands of educators — will not make students or their teachers any safer; and

WHEREAS, guards with firearms have been present at numerous mass shootings, including those in Orlando and Las Vegas, and still failed to prevent those tragedies; and

WHEREAS, arming teachers risks escalating a school shooting into an outright shootout and teachers would be as likely to hit innocent students or faculty as a shooter in the heat of such a crisis; and

WHEREAS, funds allocated for providing teachers with guns and training them would be better spent on programs that would actually help kids and keep them safe, including school nurses and counselors and summer school and after-school programs; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT reaffirms its longstanding support for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as other gun safety laws; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT supports federal research on the public health impact of gun violence, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls for professional learning and support for educators who work continually to create safe environments in our classrooms and schools as well as the communities where our students live, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT calls on the New York City Department of Education to review school safety plans with faculty at every school, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT backs efforts to provide more funding for mental health services, school psychologists, social workers and school counselors so trained professionals have a better chance of identifying a student in crisis and intervening before tragedy strikes; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT opposes arming teachers and recognizes that the only ones who benefit from such an arrangement are the gun companies who would gain yet more customers for their lethal wares; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will work with coalition partners to address more pervasive issues of gun violence in New York City; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the UFT will stand with anti-gun violence activists, including the brave and outspoken students of New York City and Parkland, to make this country a safer place and will work with advocates and students across this country to make needed changes happen.