New Gun Law Limits Security Possibilities For Private Schools

A new gun control law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month limits the freedom of schools—including Christian schools—in the area of safety and security.

Prior to the passage of this new law, carrying a firearm on school grounds was illegal for most New Yorkers. However, there were exceptions. One such exception allowed schools to give written authorization for certain individuals or groups to carry firearms on their respective properties.

On July 31, 2019, Gov. Cuomo signed Bill S.101-A-Kaminsky/A.1715-A-Griffin (now Chapter 138 of the Laws of 2019. Under this new law, no school may authorize an administrator, a teacher, or another person employed at that school to carry a firearm on school grounds that are used for educational purposes unless that person is “primarily employed as a school resource officer, police officer, peace officer, or security guard who has been issued a special armed guard registration card…”The law went into effect immediately upon being signed.

This new law creates a problem. Some schools—including Christian schools—that wish to have armed security personnel on their premises may lack the funds to hire school resource officers or security guards. Before July 31 of this year, those schools were free to authorize other employees to carry firearms on school property for security purposes. Under Gov. Cuomo’s new gun law, that freedom has been removed.

Envision this scenario: A small Christian school is facing budget constraints. The school’s leadership believes armed security is needed, but cannot afford to hire a school resource officer. The school has a principal with a law enforcement background and a physical education teacher with a military background. In past school years, the school has given its principal and its physical education teacher written authorization to carry firearms on school property. That school is no longer allowed to do so.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms has no position on whether Christian schools should have armed security. Because of the tragic potential for school shootings, some Christian schools may welcome the idea. Others may find it objectionable. Our point is simply this: Christian schools—not the State of New York—should make that decision. Schools should be free to authorize trained personnel—including teachers and administrators—to carry firearms on site for safety and security purposes.

New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms calls upon the Governor and the Legislature to repeal Chapter 138 of the Laws of 2019.