In the News: Gun Violence in Our Schools & Communities 

Texas AFT President Zeph Capo speaks to fellow marchers outside of Sen. Ted Cruz’s office in June 2022. Members and allies gathered to urge action on gun violence after the school shooting in Uvalde. No action has been taken by Cruz or other Texas politicians since that time. 

White House Takes Steps to Ensure Safe Firearm Storage in the Home 

On Jan. 25, the White House announced new measures to ensure gun safety in American homes, specifically directing the Department of Education to take necessary steps to safeguard the health and well-being of students across the nation. 

Under the direction of the Department of Education, school principals nationwide will receive a letter detailing proper firearm storage safety guidelines and encouraging them to give information to parents about storage. Additionally, the Department of Education is issuing a new template to principals for communication with parents regarding recommendations for safe storage.  

Across the country, gun violence is the leading cause of death for children. Additionally, according to studies, over 4.6 million children live in a home with unsecured firearms, potentially putting their safety at risk. The White House emphasized the importance of decreasing this number: “Safe storage of firearms can physically prevent youth from accessing firearms, helping to keep youth, schools, and communities safe from gun violence. Unsecured guns are also closely associated with school shootings, youth suicide, unintentional shootings, and theft of firearms.”.  

The Biden Administration cited some worrisome statistics that led officials to act:  

How You Can Help 

To help fight this cause and save lives, you can find your local school district and reach out to ensure that these potentially life-saving materials are used and shared with families. You can also find more information about safe gun storage with this resource from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.  

Tell Congress to Fund Community Violence Intervention Programs 

Even though gun violence rates declined last year nationally, there are far too many children and students who still suffer from the devastating impact of firearm-related violence. Death by firearm remains the leading cause of death among the young Americans, leaving lasting scars on survivors, witnesses, and entire communities. As we witness the repercussions in emergency rooms, classrooms, and correctional facilities, we must break this cycle. That’s why AFT is asking members to advocate for the continuation of vital community violence intervention programs.  

Last year’s federal spending bill allocated funding for these life-saving programs, but this support is now at risk as some Republicans in Congress seek to cut spending in the coming weeks. We cannot let these essential initiatives lose their funding, jeopardizing the progress we’ve made in breaking the cycle of gun violence. 

Help keep these lifesaving programs going by contacting your representatives and senators. 

AFT urges Congress to prioritize and sustain funding for community violence intervention programs. These initiatives have proven effective, making a tangible impact on reducing violence in our neighborhoods. 

While we continue advocating for legislative measures to curb illegal access to firearms, prosecute gun dealers, and address the root causes of violence, it’s equally important to work within our communities. We must support young people who may be drawn into violence due to fear and anger. 

Join us in safeguarding our communities. Take a moment to contact Congress and emphasize the need for ongoing funding for community violence intervention programs. Together, we can make a difference and contribute to building safer, more resilient communities. 

Your voice matters, so let’s make sure Congress hears it.  

Tags: , ,