WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congress today passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant new federal gun safety legislation in decades. The bill includes critically important and popular measures including expanded background checks for buyers under 21, providing funds to states to implement extreme risk protection measures, and increased funding for mental health services.
The 3-million-member National Education Association applauds this important first step towards curbing America’s gun violence epidemic, while also maintaining our demands that our elected representatives at the federal, state, and local levels continue working towards comprehensive solutions to keep our students, educators, and school communities safe.
The following can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:
“All students — no matter where they are from, who they love, or what their race — deserve a welcoming and safe learning environment, free from the fear of gun violence in their schools or communities. That’s why educators, students, and parents have joined together to demand that our elected leaders do something. We are encouraged by Congress’ passage of bipartisan and commonsense gun safety legislation.
“We have witnessed the violence and carnage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and the hate-filled massacre in Buffalo, New York — and so many more school shootings and community mass shootings — and we must continue our work so that they do not happen again. Gun violence is a critical public health crisis that is the leading cause of death for our nation’s children. Since 2012, when 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, there have been at least 2,654 mass shootings in the United States. Everyone in America knows this violence will continue to happen unless something drastic changes. And we know that communities of color continue to be disproportionally affected by gun violence.
“This is a good first step, and the bill will absolutely help save lives, but we cannot stop here. Lawmakers from both parties need to do more to pass comprehensive measures to stop the massacres at our public schools and communities. We will not stop until every educator can plan their lessons without also planning for evacuation. NEA will continue our work because we are not done until every child — in every corner of our country — can walk to school and sit in class in safety.”
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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at www.nea.org.