LINCOLN, Neb. — Today, the Nebraska chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement condemning Nebraska lawmakers for introducing a dangerous bill LB 1339 to militarize Nebraska schools by allowing school districts to authorize arming teachers and other school personnel.
“How many times do students have to go to bat, begging out-of-touch lawmakers to stop introducing bills that will arm teachers and put our lives at risk?” said Jayden Speed, a leader with Nebraska Students Demand Action. “We want more books in our classrooms, not guns in our schools. News flash: Nebraska has a teaching shortage problem, our lawmakers should focus on addressing the crisis in our schools and find actual solutions to prevent gun violence rather than cozying up to the gun lobby and putting our lives on the line.”
“Instead of prioritizing measures that will actually keep gun violence out of classrooms, extremist Nebraska lawmakers are politicizing falsehoods that allowing school districts to arm educators will create a safer environment for students when it only increases the likelihood that a student will have access to a gun,” said Jen Hodge, a volunteer with the Nebraska chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Let teachers teach. This is not the job they signed up for.”
Research shows that arming teachers introduces new risks of gun violence in schools and puts the lives of students, teachers, and law enforcement in danger. Arming teachers and people on campus only increases the chances of students experiencing gun violence at school. We’re seeing this in other states – states with the weakest gun laws tend to have higher rates of gun violence than states with stronger gun laws.
Arming teachers is opposed by school safety experts, teachers, and law enforcement, and with good reason. First, when a gun is in the classroom, students can get access to it. There have been multiple incidents of students and teachers finding misplaced firearms: in bathrooms, locker rooms, and even sporting events. Second, the notion of a highly trained teacher armed with a gun, able to respond as quickly as trained law enforcement, is a myth. Law enforcement officers receive hundreds of hours of training but Nebraska will allow armed personnel to carry in schools potentially with much less training.
In addition to LB 1339, lawmakers introduced LB 1269 a measure that seeks to change the state’s traditional self-defense law to a shoot first law – allowing an individual to kill another person outside of their home even if they could safely avoid doing so. These laws are proven to dramatically escalate violence, leading to 150 additional gun deaths each month nationwide—with an increase of 32% in Florida’s gun homicide rate alone.
On the second day of the 2024 session, Nebraska lawmakers also introduced dangerous legislation, LB 883, that would repeal the state’s requirement that all handgun purchasers pass a background check by eliminating the handgun purchase permit system.
Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens. Gun violence is a public health crisis that lawmakers can take active steps toward solving. Instead of militarizing Nebraska schools, lawmakers should work to pass secure storage legislation that has been proven effective in reducing the risk of gun violence.
Nebraska ranks 24th in the nation for its gun laws, dropping from a rank of 22 last year. While many states advanced in the fight against gun violence, last year we saw a few Nebraska lawmakers go to extreme lengths to ignore pleas for action from their constituents. Gun lobby-backed legislators in Nebraska passed a permitless carry law, which dangerously removed the permitting requirement for carrying hidden, loaded handguns in public. Public safety experts and Nebraska voters alike opposed permitless carry, as it makes it easier for people with dangerous histories to carry guns throughout Nebraska communities. Volunteers with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action testified in opposition to the dangerous permitless law.
More information on gun violence in Nebraska is available here. To speak to a Nebraksa volunteer with Moms Demand Action, a volunteer with Students Demand Action, or a policy expert, please reach out to [email protected].