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Teachers banned from carrying weapons on school grounds under new state law

ALBANY – Teachers and other nonsecurity workers will be specifically banned from carrying weapons on school grounds under legislation approved Wednesday by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The governor also signed legislation creating a state-administered, uniform program for municipalities that offer to purchase illegal or unwanted weapons from their owners.

Both bills were approved by the Legislature in January.

Wednesday marked the third straight day Cuomo has signed into law some kind of gun control measure – six in all – including a state ban on bump stocks used to make weapons fire rounds more rapidly, extension of gun purchase waiting periods for some individuals, and prohibition against the possession, sale or manufacturing of weapons able to avoid metal detectors or other security devices.

“These measures will help slow the proliferation of guns by keeping unneeded firearms out of school zones and helping to ensure unwanted or illegal guns don’t fall into dangerous hands,’’ Cuomo said of Wednesday’s two bills.

The one bill comes in response to mass shootings at schools around the country and calls by some to let teachers and other school workers carry weapons. The new law restricts schools from issuing written authorization to carry weapons on school grounds to security guards, peace officers, school resource officers and law enforcement.

A teacher or other school official could carry a weapon on school grounds only if they are “primarily employed” as one of those covered security positions either directly by the school or an outside third party and have been issued a special armed guard registration card. The Cuomo administration says the bill takes effect immediately.

“Arming teachers with guns can only lead to additional tragedies,’’ said Assemblywoman Judy Griffin, a Long Island Democrat and the bill’s Assembly sponsor.

The second bill calls for the State Police to administer a gun buyback program. The police agency and the New York Department of State will also develop rules to create a standard set of rules for how municipalities can conduct such efforts to try to get people – incentivized with cash payments – to turn in illegal or unwanted firearms.

A new funding pot will be created for such programs; however, the bill does not specifically earmark any money yet to the effort. The buyback law takes effect in 180 days.

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