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State senator wants bill against arming teachers

The bill would ban any staff to carry guns except for school resource officers, law enforcement or security guards.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) plans to introduce a bill that would ban teachers from carrying guns in schools. (Credit: Newsday / John Asbury)

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky plans to introduce a bill that would ban teachers from carrying guns in schools.

The proposal follows President Donald Trump’s call to arm teachers in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) co-sponsored the bill with state Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford), which would ban any staff to carry guns except for school resource officers, law enforcement or security guards. He plans to introduce the proposal to the State Senate on Monday.

Kaminsky and Brooks appeared with other Democratic Senate leaders Saturday afternoon in Rockville Centre at South Side High School to unveil the proposed legislation with school officials, students and the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Kaminsky said the law is needed as a safeguard for school districts if current laws are changed, such as the president’s promise to eliminate federal gun-free zones. State law makes it a felony to possess any gun on school grounds.

“If we decide to arm teachers, we are implicitly saying there is nothing that can be done,” Kaminsky said. “It is a cop-out. It’s saying we know that someone who shouldn’t will get their hands on a very dangerous weapon and come into our schools. More guns are not and never will be the answer.”

New York Republicans said state officials have not proposed arming teachers accused Kaminsky of grandstanding and urged him to work on a school safety package with the Assembly.

“No one in New York is proposing to arm schoolteachers, and he knows it. In fact, Senator (John) Flanagan is adamantly opposed, and thinks teachers should be allowed to focus on teaching,” Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif said.

New York State Republicans have defeated several gun control measures proposed by Democrats.

A party-line vote last week by the Republican-controlled Senate defeated measures to ban bump stocks, which convert guns into automatic weapons, would have increased background checks and would have created an institute to study gun violence.

Republican senators promised to earmark money for placing more armed guards in any school district that wants them, hardening school doors and security cameras.

On Long Island, Miller Place schools last week hired four ex-NYPD officers as armed guards. Center Moriches school officials also proposed hiring two armed guards, and Mount Sinai officials are reviewing a similar proposal.

Rockville Centre Superintendent William Johnson said Saturday the state should take any steps to eliminate all guns in schools to protect students.

“You don’t solve problems with problems,” Johnson said. “Guns don’t belong in schools. Books and supplies belong in schools. We don’t need the guns.”

With James T. Madore

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