Skip to main content

Cuomo bans armed teachers in schools

  • Empty
    Jiri Hera/Dreamstime/TNS Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pledging to beef up gun control laws in New York state within the first 100 days of the new legislative session.
  • Empty
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a series of new gun control laws this week, including a prohibition on most school faculty carrying firearms on school grounds.
July 31, 2019 07:19 pm

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday prohibiting most school officials from carrying weapons on school grounds.

The law makes an exception for armed law-enforcement officers, security guards and school resource officers, also known as SROs.

The new law is in contrast to the position President Donald Trump has taken on the issue, in which he has promoted the idea of arming teachers and other school officials in an effort to deter gun violence. Other states across the country have considered arming teachers.

Cuomo said more guns is not the answer.

This week he signed six new gun control laws. The prohibition on armed school faculty is the latest.

“The answer to the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country has never been and never will be more guns, and today we’re expanding New York’s nation-leading gun safety laws to further protect our children,” Cuomo said in a statement.

The bill takes effect immediately.

National Rifle Association safety instructor Donald La Valley, who is past president of the Columbia County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said arming school staff would make students safer.

“I would be in favor of school officials carrying a gun, as long as they are properly trained and licensed, and insured as well,” La Valley said. “I don’t recommend a janitor walks around with a shotgun, but you also don’t want to make it any easier for someone to come into a school and shoot people. Our children are our most important resource, and we need to protect them.”

La Valley said prohibiting guns for most school personnel creates a hazard.

“By banning firearms on school grounds, we have created soft targets,” he said. “If someone wants to go to a school and shoot, he knows he can get away with it because there is no one there to stop him.”

Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, said all possibilities should have been considered.

“If the governor was serious about protecting our kids, he would’ve explored all options to secure our schools instead of reflexively taking safety measures off the table,” Tague said. “If an educator is a retired law enforcement official or has received extensive training, there is no good reason to prohibit them from carrying a weapon that could neutralize a school shooter and save innocent lives.”

At the Ichabod Crane Central School District, the existing policy mirrors the new law so nothing will change, Interim District Superintendent Lee Bordick said.

“Our policy prohibits public, staff and students from bringing any weapons onto school grounds, with the exception of an SRO. This will not change anything for us,” Bordick said.

He said the school resource officer is a Columbia County sheriff’s deputy and is armed and on school property during the school day. Bordick said students are safer that way.

“This provides a tremendous level of safety for our students, staff and community as a whole,” Bordick said. “Our district has an SRO as an additional layer of security and works with the county sheriff’s and state police.”

Guns are banned on many other school campuses in the Twin Counties.

More new gun laws

Cuomo this week signed a spate of new gun control laws. Late Tuesday he signed additional legislation banning 3-D printed guns and other undetectable firearms. Another new law expands safe storage requirements for guns in households where children under age 16 reside.

That move came one day after the governor passed laws banning bump stocks, which accelerate the speed at which a gun can fire, and extending the waiting period on some background checks.

Firearms manufactured using an industrial 3-D printer or laser-cutting machines are made of plastic, using a metal firing pin that can potentially be removable, according to the FBI, which would make it undetectable.

Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said neither 3-D weapons nor bump stocks have been a local problem.

“We have never had cases involving 3-D guns or bump stocks. Not even close,” Seeley said.

Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said he has not seen an issue in his area.

“I haven’t seen 3-D guns in the city of Hudson and we haven’t had any crimes involving bump stocks as long as I have been here,” Moore noted.

Cuomo also signed legislation requiring the safe storage of weapons in homes where children under the age of 16 reside, or where they are likely to be accessible to youngsters under 16. The law includes a provision that allows kids who are properly licensed or supervised to hunt or practice shooting at a firing range.

Seeley said he supported safe storage of weapons, but added that more has to be done.

“Safe storage is a good thing. I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but what we need to do is educate kids — teach them about gun safety and what is right and wrong. To put more restrictions on guns — do they think we are going to go busting into houses to see if someone has a safe? Not on my watch,” Seeley said.

He would like to see more funding for education and safety classes.

“Instead of giving money to welfare, we should spend it on having law enforcement give seminars and teach gun safety. I think the money would be better spent that way,” Seeley said. “Another law, another law, another law. I am not for that at all.”

Once again, the comments by Greene County Sheriff, Greg Seeley, are gratuitous and inflammatory.

It's a good thing that Seeley is leaving. He should do so sooner than later. His statements do not represent Greene County well. We can do without the "dog whistle" references and zero-sum mentality that Seeley employs to propose spending money on "law enforcement giving [gun] seminars and teach gun safety." And the racist sub-text of "Instead of giving money to welfare," is disgustingly self evident. In his defense, Sheriff Seeley can try to innocently claim that 'their are plenty of white people on welfare.' But, his game is an old and tired one.

When white people receive aid it's called "social assistance," or, "Senior support." "Welfare," has a long and notorious employ as an epithet for race in right-wing and white supremacist ideologues and we don't need it coming into a discussion about keeping our kids safe in schools.

Seeley pushed to have his deputies in our schools last year, overturning a Greene County Legislature vote in a back door procedure. He is a menace and his latest statements are racially inflammatory and unfortunately in step with the disgraceful and intentionally inflammatory rhetoric coming from the White House to distract from their ongoing criminality and pending impeachment inquiries. Enough Seeley. Stand down.
I agree with the Sheriff, the more firearms safety training the better. I took the hunter safety course with my teenage son. Never hand over a gun without verifying that it is unloaded. How to hop a fence safely while carrying a gun. Etc.
The racist subtext of welfare is all in your head.
I think that it’s obvious to everyone who has driven through hollowed out upstate. Most people on relief up here are white.
But the most interesting point of your comments
is your use of the racism accusation to shut down the issue. President Trump is exploiting this game right now and he is pulling the punches. He is asking “why are you calling me a racist”. Once we get past your progressive platitudes, there are crime and welfare statistics that make you look wrong. And he will make a convincing case. And he gets re-elected. He wins by letting you be yourself.

ChrisfromHudson, obviously we disagree. You seem to be advocating MANDATORY firearms safety. I might not want my children forced or even exposed to guns in any context that makes their use seductive and accessible. That should be the prerogative of every parent, not the sheriff, or you.

Donald Trump is a racist and a traitor who pours gasoline on our differences. Apparently you're a fan. That's on you. I'm not taking a position that your children can't be taught by you about safety and firearms, or any other "skills" or "values," you might seek to impart to them. You probably won't want to read this:; anymore than you might have actually read the Mueller Report, but, how do you explain the fact that children in states with easier access to guns and more NRA members relative to their general population have higher rates of gun injuries and deaths among their children?

Meanwhile, we'll see how well Trump does denigrating all those with darker complexions. And how well our nation can protect the sanctity of our free elections and law from the violation they've been subject to according to democrats and republicans in our intelligence community.

You end your reply to my comment with, " And he will make a convincing case. And he gets re-elected. He wins by letting you be yourself." Do I get all the credit if Trump is soundly defeated, and subsequently indicted and imprisoned as a fraud, criminal and traitor? Just curious.
In response to JWP-CAT, of course I checked your link on 1300 terrible child gun deaths. They are defining a child as age 0-17. Age 17 is super prime age for urban gang people of color homicide and they use this trick to goose the statistic while calling them children.
Actual definition of a child is 0-14, and the real gun death count is 73:
No sir, you can’t fool me. This is the sort of thing that President Trump calls fake news and then he gets re-elected.
And then you move on to the usual Trump is a racist traitor blah blah. I don’t think there is an answer to that sort of horse pucky except that I am bored and provoked and you need to check this link:
Look at the judge’s opinion of the Obama fisa warrants, It wrecks your world bigly. There it is right on page 82! She says that 85% of the fisa spying was illegal. And they were doing it before 2016. Listening in on lots of people. This is very very bad. This is what attorney general Barr is looking at right now. That Susan Rice is in big trouble! Indictment for conspiracy. Soon. Don’t you think we should always read with diversity? Just curious.
>>Chirisfromhudson I hate to break it to you, Chris, but under New York State Law minors do not become adults until 18. They are not tried as adults,. They may not be incarcerated with adults. They can't go buying an AK-47 on their own. They are minors. Their parents are still responsible for them. They lack the judgment faculties of adults. In fact brain science indicates that until the twenties risk assessment faculties are not the same or as effective as adults. It's a cliche that teens feel "invulnerable."

As for your "urban gang people of color" race baiting rant, please, one would hope, in vain apparently, that in the shadow of the most recent national tragedy caused by someone who posted a white nationalist screed containing many of your Trump's favorite catch phrases before he went off to slaughter people in El Paso that you'd show some humanity. Some shame. Your attempt to then branch into false equivalencies and whataboutisms define you. It is not a pretty picture you project of yourself or your values. You might try feeding your brain a more diverse diet of actual facts and non propaganda.

I don't expect you to change your mind or listen to other people unless they are already reinforcing your delusions. But, I hope the majority of Americans understand that we have to rise up and not only reject the poison you and people like you preach, but do something about it. Thank you though, for proving my point, which is that you are exactly the kind of fringe mentality and set of prejudices that Sheriff Seeley was trying to stir up and goose with his dog whistles. Case closed.
@ Chris from Hudson - as a mother of a boy I don't count beans and crunch numbers. I look at the children dead. The father only stepped out of the room for a minute.

A West Virginia family is mourning the tragic death of a 3-year-old boy who police said accidentally shot himself in the head Wednesday evening.

Authorities said the child, whose name has not been released, used his father’s weapon while the man was in a different room at their home in the city of Nitro.

The boy was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after the 6:30 p.m. incident.

“It appears to be an accidental shooting,” Police Chief Bobby Eggleton told reporters outside the home. “We’re investigating it right now. We’re taking statements from the father.”

Police said the father had laid down the weapon and was getting ready to leave the house when the child picked up the gun.
[More U.S. News] El Paso police need help finding ‘hero’ from Walmart mass shooting »

“He walks into the next room (and) the father hears the gunshot, runs in, immediately sees his child in distress and calls 911,” Eggleton said.

So Chris, you remind me of the gun nuts who thought Sandy Hook used actors. Some desperados are willing to believe anything they're told so long as it reinforces their prejudices and their "opinion."
Hey ChrisfromHudson- As a vet who put my life on the line in Kabul I have to ask, did you not read the comment? It's Sheriff Seeley who goes out of his way to bring "welfare" into this discussion, and as a mother with a teenager I don't want anyone else, like you, deciding whether they should be getting taught how to use a gun "safely" or not, to "hunt," "kill" or anything else you might personally like to do. I didn't see guns do much good for people in Afghanistan, or here. And with all due respect, I don't see you addressing the excellent point that "When white people receive aid it's called "social assistance," or, "Senior support."

or that . . . "Welfare," has a long and notorious employ as an epithet for race in right-wing and white supremacist ideologues and we don't need it coming into a discussion about keeping our kids safe in schools.

You seem totally invested in a coward, traitor and draft dodger who goes out of his way to inflame the races with his every "tweet." You have to live with that and the consequences of the ugliness it brings into our country. May God protect this nation from the Trumps and cowards who are acting against the America I fought for and put my life on the line for. And may God forgive you. I hope for your sake.
The news answered your post there Christopher from Hudson . . . Do you really think more and more guns are the answer, Chrisopher? Trump is a racist, I can vouch for it having worked as a subcontractor and sued him for bounced checks and non-pays. He's the lowest there is. And his comments in Panama City joking about "you can do anything in the Panhandle," were typical of him. He set the table and the shooters are cleaning it off. Today Dayton. When is "enough enough?" Seriously? You have a son? Look in the mirror, "dad." You should take a good long look, and then call up some of those grieving and ask them if they think gun lectures in their school from Sheriff Seeley will really help.

Sorry for my sarcastic tone, but, I've had it with Trump and "gun people." I was in the USAF and military hardware should never be in civilian hands, or anything approximating it. It's designed to kill people. Period. Go teach your son that.
As the primary advocate for an overpriced, oversized, and unnecessary jail to be built in Coxsackie instead of Catskill - the current CLOSED location - Seeley has been a disgrace to our community. More guns? Quadruple public county debt for a new jail - by $50 MILLION - to house an estimated 15 pre-trial detainees? The highest cost-per-bed - three times the average county jail costs in the entire state - at $1 million a bed? Support massive debt that will provide a substantial increase in county taxation and avoid investment to address community needs? Seeley distracted and diverted investments in economic expansion and job development, prevented the needed extension of broadband services, and detoured investments in healthcare and education. This Sheriff derailed addressing Greene County's community needs. Instead, he let the former Catskill facility become a deteriorated, closed jail rated "the worst jail" in NY State. It was Seeley that allowed this to happen and cost us our future. All of these and more reveal a puffed up and headstrong official with irresponsible, poor judgment. And, now... as he retires... he wants MORE GUNS in schools? A sad exit strategy that could add a serious threat to the welfare and lives of our children. Sad....
Yes, teachers should NOT carry guns at school. The school resource officers here in Greene County should NOT be County Sheriffs or from the County Sheriff’s Office.

We should also close down the “gun range” called Sheepdog Warrior, which is near the Old Catskill Game Farm. It’s more like a GI Joe wanna be training camp, and horrible.