The American Federation of Teachers is urging Congress to pass several gun control bills, including a sweeping ban on semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines, a “red flag” bill, and “improved background checks”, according to the group’s head Randi Weingarten.
AFT President Randi Weingarten promoted a ban on assault weapons, improved background checks and so-called red flag gun legislation in a letter to Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
“Tragically, too many of our nation’s schools and communities are being terrorized by the effects of gun violence,” she wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Hill. “We must work to pursue and implement commonsense solutions to reduce these acts of violence.”
“We implore you to consider the following proposals,” she added. “They have been informed by members’ firsthand experiences in schools and communities touched by gun massacres.”
The letter was slated to be sent to the lawmakers Monday.
The AFT also called for mental health support in schools and measures to address white supremacy.
“This is what we think will work and let’s have some courage to do it,” Weingarten said of the proposals in an interview with The Hill.
The teachers union’s support for gun control measures isn’t exactly new. Nor is it confined merely to lobbying Congress. After publicly breaking its relationship with Wells Fargo over guns last year, the union has also recently joined the growing number of groups on the Left pressuring Walmart to stop selling firearms and ammunition.
— Crooks and Liars (@crooksandliars) August 12, 2019
Weingarten has also used her position as head of the AFT to recently push gun control in her president’s column on the union website.
We need to address the fact that young people are more stressed about gun violence than any other issue—a horrific reality that is unique to the United States. We need lawmakers to enact real change to our gun laws so that every person can feel safe in school and in our communities. And we need corporations to use their clout to make our country safer; it is infuriating that corporate giants like Walmart sell both guns and bulletproof backpacks, while writing checks to lawmakers who stand in the way of sensible gun laws.
This goes back to something I wrote about last week; the fact that gun control groups (and supporters like Weingarten) are actually instilling fear even while they bemoan it. According to Gallup, about one in five students expressed concern about their safety to parents in 2018, which is near an all-time high. But the truth is schools are safer now than they were a generation ago. You’ll never hear a gun control supporter like Randi Weingarten tell a student that fact, any more than Weingarten would ever admit that these students are more likely to have teachers sexually abusing or harrassing them than a classmate try to kill them.
I can find Randi Weingarten’s press release in support of “universal background checks” on the American Federation of Teachers website, but I can’t find a single word of condemnation for the hundreds of educators arrested in the past few years for sex crimes against students. Will Randi Weingarten have anything to say about the teacher in Kentucky charged with rape last week? How about the Iowa teacher accused of preying on a student?
There are plenty of ways to address the risk of an active assailant attack at a school that actually work, as opposed to the gun control bills supported by the teachers union. From erecting physical barriers to lowering communication barriers between students and school resource officers, developing armed staff, and better access to mental health and wellness, districts around the country are already responding to the rare but real threat of violence in schools. But if Weingarten really wants kids to feel safe at school, what’s she doing to stop the (still rare but more common) threat of teachers raping or molesting their students?