ACTION FOR GUN REFORM: Austin Bailey, the Little Rock group leader for Moms Demand Action (file photo).
Arkansas Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety
, responded critically today to the report delivered to the governor on Monday
from the Arkansas School Safety Commission.
Among other recommendations, the commission's report said every school campus should have an armed presence and endorsed the use of a 2015 law to allow districts to use "commissioned school security officers" — school staff authorized to carry weapons after completing 60 hours of training. That law allows both security staff and non-security school staffers (including teachers) to become CSSOs. The report allows that individual districts would have authority over the decision to implement its recommendation.
In a press release
from Everytown and Moms Demand Action, the Arkansas chapter said that this report ignores research
indicating that arming teachers will make children less safe. Eve Jorgensen
leader with the group, issued a statement:
We owe it to our children to do everything we can to keep them safe from gun violence. That's why I spoke to the School Safety Commission explaining the risk of arming teachers. I’m disappointed that instead of exploring proven gun violence prevention tools like robust Red Flag Laws, the Commission is recommending the dangerous policy of arming teachers. It is vital for our elected officials to learn what our educators and law enforcement already know - that putting guns in the hands of teachers is not the answer. I hope Governor Hutchinson will look to his fellow governors in both parties who have recognized the benefits of Red Flag Laws.
Red flag laws are gun violence prevention laws that permit police or family members to petition a state court to restrict a person's access to firearms if they are a threat to themselves or others.
Moms Demand Action proved itself to be an effective force for political mobilization
this election cycle. As described by Jorgensen in a guest column in the Arkansas Times,
several candidates embraced by the group won legislative seats, including two upsets
in Northwest Arkansas.