People hug one another before the start of a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In the time since the Columbine Massacre, 19 years ago today, 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at their school during the school day. That’s equivalent to the population of Salt Lake City. Gun violence in our schools is not a predetermined outcome that we must be prepared for —it is a consequence of decisions made by our elected leaders.
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The problem extends beyond mass shootings. Gun violence affects the lives of our students far too often, inside and outside of schools. Gun violence affects too many youth, especially in communities of color, on a daily basis. It is far past time for our leaders to take real action when it comes to gun violence.
Elected leaders across the country have released plans for how to deal with gun violence in their states and in our schools. At the Federal level, Donald Trump has tweeted his support for arming educators, while Betsy DeVos has, unsurprisingly, echoed his comments.
Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2018
Scroll down to see how elected leaders and candidates in your state have addressed the idea of arming educators.
Chris Giunchigliani, Democratic candidate for Governor, has been a long-time supporter of common-sense gun regulations. The first Nevada gubernatorial candidate to address the issue, Giunchigliani has released a 6-point plan calling for better background checks, banning assault rifles and bump stocks, and keeping firearms out of classrooms.
“I don’t want schools to become prisons or to become so locked down that you can’t instruct,” she told The Nevada Independent. “You lose that collegiality and the fun that should also be contained within a school.”
Nevada Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Adam Laxalt, on the other hand, has been carrying water for the NRA for years. Despite calling for increased background checks in late March, when a similar ballot measure was passed by Nevada voters in 2016, Laxalt refused to implement the law based on a technicality.
In fact, Laxalt has spoken at many NRA events over the years and was listed as a speaker for a major NRA event to be held early next month. Hoping that Nevada voters will forget that fact when they go to the ballot box this November, Laxalt was removed from the speaker list days after the Parkland Massacre.
In Michigan, current Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette has spoken out in support of the Trump plan to arm educators in his state.
“That is an option that ought to be considered,” Schuette said in an interview with ABC News last week, “If we have to work on having security officers in schools and or teachers that are specially trained, specially equipped, that’s an option we ought to review.”
Democratic front-runner for the gubernatorial election, Gretchen Whitmer, on the other hand, has not only spoken out against arming educators, but also opposed a bill passed in Michigan that expanded concealed carry laws to include bars, preschools, churches and other places.
In Colorado, the Democratic hopefuls have all signaled support for increased gun control, but Cary Kennedy is the only candidate who has called for a ban on military-style assault weapons.
In addition, Kennedy has also called for banning bump stocks and suppressors, or “silencers.”
Walker Stapleton, the front-runner for the GOP nomination, has taken a stance that is the polar opposite of Kennedy’s. Not only has Stapleton released no plan to keep our schools safe, he has, in fact, said he would remove background check regulations if possible.
Want to find out how politicians in your state have voted on gun violence? Check out this New York Times interactive feature to learn more!