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Biden wants to ban federal funding of teacher firearm training

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke endorses Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden during a rally held at Gilley's on March 2, 2020 in Dallas. (Juan Figueroa/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)
June 09, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to bar the use of federal funds for training educators to handle firearms.

Biden’s campaign website lists the ban on federally funded firearms training for teachers as part of his plan to end gun violence.

“We should be passing rational gun laws, not requiring educators who already have too much on their plates to also protect the safety of their students,” the campaign website says. “Biden supports barring states from using federal dollars to arm or train educators to discharge firearms.”

Biden’s campaign lists his opposition to federal support for armed teachers after some school safety proponents suggested arming teachers could help prevent school shootings.

In another platform page on his campaign website dedicated to education, Biden also lists a goal to “Defeat the National Rifle Association” as a means to make schools safer.

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“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether their kids will come home from school, and students shouldn’t have to sacrifice themselves for their friends days before graduation,” Biden’s website states. “We cannot let gun violence become an acceptable part of American life.”

The education policy page continues, stating “Biden knows that arming teachers isn’t the answer; instead, we need rational gun laws.”

Following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., investigators determined a school resource officer assigned to protect the school stayed outside during the deadly school shooting in which 17 people were killed. The Florida State commission investigating the shooting and the security responses later proposed arming teachers as a viable means of preventing another shooting like the one that occurred in 2018.

Other states and local school districts have also adopted the idea of armed teachers and lawmakers in North Carolina even proposed pay raises to incentivize teachers to undergo police training and carry firearms in class.

In March 2019, Education Week reported Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) introduced proposals to bar the U.S. Department of Education from granting funding to firearms training for teachers. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, by contrast, has argued Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act could be used to include funding for firearms training. The specific education act includes a provision for student safety.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, (D-CT) told Education Week, at the time, that federal funds have not been used to support firearms training for teachers, but that her colleagues were aiming to prevent the possibility entirely.

“It is outrageous that Secretary DeVos would even consider using taxpayer dollars on such a dangerous proposal,” DeLauro said at the time.