ALBANY, N.Y. January 15, 2013 - New York State United Teachers today applauded action to reform the state's gun laws, saying the Legislature and governor "took a strong step towards making schools - and society - safer for all New Yorkers."
"In memory of the beloved children and heroic teachers in Sandy Hook, in Columbine and in other places where gun violence created almost unimaginable pain and suffering, we praise Albany's leadership for working expeditiously and collaboratively on this very important issue," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
The agreement approved by the Legislature includes broadening the definition of what constitutes an assault weapon; stiffer penalties for those convicted of gun crimes; and creation of a statewide gun database registry. The legislation includes the creation of School Safety Improvement Teams and allows certain security expenses eligible for building aid.
"We are heartened by the quick action on this important topic by our state leaders," added NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta. "We appreciate recognition by the Assembly speaker and Senate leaders that additional funding is critical. As budget negotiations begin later this month, we look forward to state leaders providing schools with the resources they need to make the safety of children and educators a top priority."
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.