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, known as SROs.
The new law is in direct opposition to the stand 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 that 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.”
Cuomo has 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.
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 said he wanted more 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.”