Rep. Val Demings (D-Florida’s 10 District), has introduced a bill into Congress to prevent the Trump Administration from using anti-terrorism funding to give guns to teachers. The bill, H.R. 2383: Secure Communities and Safe Schools Act, will amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002, blocking the use of Homeland Security grant money and Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) grant money for that purpose. A grant awarded under section 2003 or 2004 may not be used to purchase firearms or firearms accessories, such as ammunition, including for use by teachers. House Homeland Security Committee chairs determine whether the bill will move past the committee stage.
Rep. Demings previously introduced this legislation last year, and it passed the House Homeland Security Committee. Since then, the Florida Legislature has moved to allow Florida teachers to carry guns against the strong objections of students, teachers and members of Florida communities. For years, it has been FEMA’s policy to prohibit “the purchase of weapons and weapon accessories, including ammunition” with Homeland Security grant funding. However, this is a standard practice, not a legal requirement. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a former DHS official, previously asked the president to look at using DHS grants for funding. Fifty percent of Floridians oppose and 38% support allowing teachers to carry firearms on school property.
Orlando was recently awarded $3.25 million under UASI—double last year’s award for the terrorism-preparedness program. This money can now be used to arm educators.