|NUMBER 175||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||AUGUST 2000|
NEA Takes Aim at 2nd Amendment|
NEA President Bob Chase used his annual convention address to proselytize for gun control. He used the shooting death of Lake Worth, Florida teacher Barry Grunow by a 13-year-old student at the end of the school year to place the union in the midst of the debate and presumably to stir emotions for a delegate vote on New Business Item (NBI) B authorizing the NEA to circulate petitions in favor of gun control. "In respect to Barry - and to show the resolve of both our unions (the NEA and the American Federation of Teachers have merged in Florida) to support common-sense gun laws - our resolve to make America safe for children and teachers - we will now join with our brothers and sisters in the AFT [who were meeting at the same time in Philadelphia] in a moment of silence," Chase said.
He blamed "easy access to guns" for school shootings, and cited the oft-repeated, misleading statistic that "12 children are killed by guns every 24 hours." He failed to mention that this statistic primarily reflects the deaths of "children" up to 19 years old who are involved in drug and gang-related violence. He blasted Charlton Heston and the NRA, whom he accused of "writing a politician a check" when schoolchildren are killed by guns.
NEA delegates passed New Business Item B, requiring the NEA to "prepare and distribute to each of its affiliates a petition calling for meaningful gun control, specifically licensure, registration, bullet imprinting, child safety locks, mandatory background checks including waiting periods." The affiliates will be asked to circulate the petitions and return them to the NEA to be presented to Congress "on or before Feb. 1, 2001."
About a quarter to a third of the delegates voted against NBI B.