NEW YORK – New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo wants teachers and school administrators to have more power when it comes to preventing school shootings.
In a first-of-its-kind proposal on Tuesday Cuomo announced a that he wants to allow school officials the power to ask a judge to remove guns from the homes of troubled students.
“This Red Flag Bill would provide a safety valve for people who are mentally ill, who may be in possession of a gun and may harm themselves or others,” said Cuomo.
The Governor acknowledged his proposal will run into political opposition from Republicans, including those that control the state Senate. He said however it’s a commonsense way to prevent school shootings and get help to students at risk of harming themselves or others.
“This is a sensible, positive, helpful alternative,” he said. “Many times the teacher knows this an issue.”
Cuomo believes this proposal is a far more effective way of protecting students than arming teachers.
“You don’t become a school teacher to become a security guard or a police officer; you become a teacher to be an educator,” said Cuomo. “You’re not supposed to carry guns, you’re carrying books, you’re carrying material, you’re not there to carry a gun.”
With the proposal school officials would have legal standing to petition a court to remove any firearms from the homes of students considered a threat to themselves or others. New York would be the first state in the nation with such a law if the bill passes.
So far the State teachers union is backing the proposal. Several appeared alongside Cuomo when he announced the legislation.
Cuomo’s proposal isn’t likely to pass the Republican-led state Senate, especially with only two weeks before lawmakers adjourn for the year.
Republicans did not weigh in on the bill Tuesday. Senate Republicans already have advanced their own legislation that would increase funding for armed school security officers.
The governor also is pushing legislation to raise the minimum age to buy firearms from 18 to 21.