Virtual Vigil for School Safety discusses legislation, prevention
A virtual vigil hosted by the Delaware State Education Association Thursday night remembered school gun violence victims spanning over two decades.
DSEA president Stephanie Ingram - a 4th grade teacher - says the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas last week is a reminder to schools that active shooter drills they practice could become a reality.
“No child should be afraid to go to school," Ingram said. "And no one should have to choose between going home to their families or standing in front of bullets, trying to shield their students.”
Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence Executive Director Tracy Murphy says the safest states have three critical components – well funded and well run intervention programs, prevention education programming, and evidence based policies proven to reduce gun violence.
“Governor Carney and leaders announced a historic package of gun safety bills today, perhaps the most historic and modern state history," Murphy said. "And over the next four weeks as these bills are discussed, they need to hear from us.”
Some lawmakers joined to discuss actions to prevent shootings in Delaware.
State Rep. Valerie Longhurst told the vigil that Democratic leadership plans to advance the new gun bill package - which includes an assault weapon ban and high -capacity magazine limits - before the end of the current legislative session.
“What we do know is that most of these shootings are with an assault rifle," Longhurst said. "We are looking at Robb Elementary school once again and the assault rifle is the rifle that is doing the damage to our children. And this bill, I am so confident with the House, the Senate and the Governor behind us that we will ban them in the state of Delaware.”
Longhurst adds six of the nine deadliest mass shootings since 2018 were committed by people under the age of 21, pointing to another bill that would increase the legal age to buy a gun.
Attorney General Kathy Jennings told the virgil only in America is gun violence a public health crisis, the main driver of rising crime, and the leading cause of death for children -- adding the problem is not mental illness, law breakers or video games, but guns themselves.
And Sen. Chris Coons told attendees he is encouraged by the last bipartisan gun safety bill signed by President Joe Biden, and optimistic a red flag law or emergency risk protection order can get passed too.