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PTA Strengthens Position on Firearms and Assault Weapons to Protect All Children

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SACRAMENTO –  In the wake of recent school shootings, California State PTA, the largest child advocacy association, unanimously adopted a revised position statement on Firearms and Assault Weapons. View the revised position statement.

“For more than a century, California State PTA has advocated for safer schools. Gun violence is a public-health crisis that affects us all – most of all, our children and youth. And, it’s preventable,” said California State PTA President Dianna MacDonald. “California State PTA supports state and federal legislation that protects all of our children and youth from gun violence.”

The position statement reaffirms and strengthens the association’s stance on firearms including minimum age requirements to purchase guns, prohibiting the sale and possession of assault weapons defined as automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and incorporates language from the National PTA position that the safest schools are gun free.

“Our members have been reaching out and asking California State PTA to act,” said California State PTA Vice President for Health & Community Concerns Shereen Walter. “Our action to strengthen our position statement sends a clear message — the most effective day-to-day school climate is gun free.”

California State PTA will be addressing gun violence, school safety and mental health issues with federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. on March 13-15 during the 2018 National PTA Legislation Conference. The association is also rallying members to make their voices heard by “calling out” their federal lawmakers on March 14 and demanding an end to gun violence. View the call to action alert.

POSITION STATEMENT

Firearms and Assault Weapons

  • Adopted July 1990
  • Reviewed and Deemed Relevant May 2016 – Community Concerns Commission
  • Revised February 2018 – Board of Managers

California State PTA has a long history and proud tradition of supporting legislation and programs for the safety and protection of children, youth, and families. School safety is a critical priority for all parents, educators, students and community members. We must make every attempt to reduce violence, especially incidents that involve firearms.

California State PTA recognizes the importance of a safe learning environment in attaining the highest level of student learning and achievement. California State PTA believes the most effective day-to-day school climate to be gun-free, but defers to local collaborative decision- making to allow for the presence of law enforcement deployed in community-oriented policing.

California State PTA supports state and federal legislation and restrictions that protect children and youth from gun violence and would:

  • Require a firearm licensure procedure that includes a minimum 3 day waiting period and background check to screen out illegal firearm purchasers such as convicted felons and drug-related offenders;
  • Require a firearm licensing procedure that includes proof of passing a state- certified course in appropriate firearms use and safe handling practice;
  • Restrict internet gun sales, including kits that can be used to make/modify guns;
  • Enforce federal and state minimum age requirements for gun purchases;
  • Require safety devices, including childproof trigger locks, on all firearms offered for sale, delivery or transfer;
  • Prohibit sale and possession of assault weapons for non-military/non-law enforcement use and require a registration process for those persons who now legally own such firearms;
  • Prohibit for non-military/non-law enforcement purposes, the manufacture, importation, possession, sale or resale of accessories and ammunition designed for assault weapons;
  • Ban the manufacture, sale or possession of “junk guns”/Saturday night specials;
  • Ban armor-piercing ammunition;
  • Control the illegal possession of firearms and other lethal weapons on school campuses;
  • Support state and federal funding initiatives for the research of the causes and effect of gun

California State PTA believes we must enact legislation that will reduce gun violence and help protect children and youth. California State PTA further supports:

  • Education programs that stress the importance of firearm safety and awareness, including the risks of unsecured firearms in the home, and the use and availability of firearm safety devices, including trigger locks;
  • Education programs to inform parents and community members about the harm and injury gun violence inflicts on children and youth;
  • Public awareness campaigns regarding the importance of legislation for the safety and protection of the public, especially children and youth.

Update as of March 6, 2018

Fringe news outlets have recently published stories incorrectly stating California State PTA’s positions on gun-violence prevention efforts and student demonstrations. California PTA is not organizing any marches or student walkouts.

Gun violence is a public-health crisis that affects us all – most of all, our children and youth. And, it’s preventable. California State PTA will be addressing gun violence, school safety and mental health issues with federal lawmakers in Washington D.C. on March 13-15 during the 2018 National PTA Legislation Conference. We are also asking for your help to “call out” your federal legislators to demand stronger gun-violence prevention legislation. View the action alert.

California State PTA supports the rights of students to express themselves on campus through organized demonstrations, but believes that care must be taken to ensure the orderly operation of the school is not disrupted and the physical safety of students is not threatened. Leaving during school hours to attend an off-campus demonstration places the student outside the safety zone of the school and unnecessarily jeopardizes that school’s education funding. We are aware of several student demonstrations scheduled in the coming days and weeks and have provided guidance for local PTAs that wish to support student voices. View guidance information.