Menendez Introduces Amendment To Block Department Of Education From Allowing School Districts To Use Federal Funds To Arm Teachers

Menendez Introduces Amendment To Block Department Of Education From Allowing School Districts To Use Federal Funds To Arm Teachers


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today joined Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and introduced an amendment to the FY 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would block the U.S. Department of Education from allowing school districts to use Title IV federal funds to purchase firearms for teachers. The Senate is currently debating the education funding bill.

The New York Times reported that U.S. Secretary of Education Besty DeVos is considering allowing school districts to use federal funds allocated to the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAE) in the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) to purchase firearms for teachers.   

“Betsy DeVos and the Trump Administration are moving unilaterally to use your federal tax dollars to put guns in teachers' hands,” Menendez said. “They can barely get our teachers classroom supplies, but here's a Glock?? To do this without Congressional input or working with teachers is just plain crazy. That’s I’m working with Senator Chris Murphy to stop it, but we’ll see if Republican leaders block us.”

Sen. Menendez is the prime sponsor of the Keep Americans Safe Act, common sense public safety legislation banning the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition and are designed for shooting en masse.

In early August, Sen. Menendez joined a group of Democratic Senators to introduce two pieces of legislation to combat the threat posed from the spread of 3D printable guns.  The 3D Printing Safety Act and the Untraceable Firearms Act of 2018.  Sen. Menendez went to the Senate floor to try and unanimously pass this emergency bill, but Republicans blocked the vote.

In April, Sen. Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (N.J.-09) participated in a “Town Hall for Our Lives”, hosted by Students Demand Action of Bergen County.  The event, which was one of more than 120 town halls held across the country, was a national effort urging lawmakers to pass commonsense gun legislation.

In March, Sen. Menendez visited the Essex County Police Academy with Sheriff Armando Fontoura to witness firsthand the power of an AR-15 assault rifle during a live-fire demonstration by the sheriff’s officers.  The military-style weapon was used in serveral mass shootings, including by the gunman who took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

That same month, Sen. Menendez joined several colleagues on the Senate Floor to demand action on common sense gun safety legislation.  During his speech, the senator noted several private companies that have taken action since the Parkland shooting, notably: Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart announcing it would no longer sell firearms to people under 21; Dick’s halting sales of assault rifles, like the AR-15; and companies, such as United Airlines and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, have discontinued benefit programs for National Rifle Association (NRA) members.

Sen. Menendez stood with survivors of the Parkland, Fla. school shooting at a Feb. 25 rally in Livingston, N.J., calling for passage of common sense gun safety measures.  He was joined by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Harris Jaffe, siblings David and Lauren Hogg, and brothers Ryan and Matthew Deitsch. 

Sen. Menendez, who voted for the original Assault Weapons Ban in 1994 as a member of the House of Representatives, has cosponsored legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban. He has also sponsored legislation to expand background checks and close the gun show loophole, outlaw “bump stocks” and other devices that make semiautomatic weapons fully automatic, prevent those on the Terror Watch List from purchasing guns, and improve access to mental health and addiction treatment. 

In February, Sen. Menendez joined a group of senators in demanding answers after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) failed to record court-martials or criminal convictions of servicemembers into the FBI’s background check database.  The senator opposes arming school teachers and supports the rights of states to pass their own gun laws restricting concealed carry permits.  He also participated in the 2016 Democratic filibuster for common sense gun safety on the Senate Floor and joined his House colleagues in a sit-in on the House Floor.