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end gun violence

Teachers from Newtown, CT at the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence in schools.

April 12, 2023

We Can End Gun Violence; Let’s Start With The Fact


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AFT President Randi Weingarten’s speech “In Defense of Public Education” highlights key ways we can help students recover and thrive. Before she began, Weingarten asked the crowd to join her for a moment of silence for the victims of the most recent school shooting in Nashville, Tenn., and renewed her call for a ban on assault weapons.

Immediately after Weingarten’s remarks, tweets and comments containing misinformation and mischaracterizing what she said began to circulate, with far-right extremists specifically claiming that Weingarten called for a ban on the Second Amendment and all guns. This is untrue, and to document what she actually said, we have proof in the form of a video of the speech (below) as well as the written transcript. You can watch the speech in its entirety here.

The AFT’s Share My Lesson has resources to help teach students digital citizenship, media literacy and how to identify misinformation. And in January 2022, we launched a national partnership with the anti-misinformation tool NewsGuard to protect and champion legitimate journalism and fact-based reporting and to help educators and their students navigate a sea of online disinformation. Members can sign up to use that today.

Some facts for the record:

  • Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States.
  • Shootings are classified as mass shootings when four or more people are injured or killed.
  • There have been more mass shootings than days so far this year: As of March 29, 2023, the 88th day of this year, there have been more than 130 mass shootings in the United States. In 2022 alone there were 647 mass shootings.
  • The rates of both mass shootings and deaths due to gun violence in the United States are astronomical in comparison with other developed nations.
  • Additionally, people die of gun violence at more than three times the rate in states without basic gun safety protections compared with states with commonsense gun safety laws.
  • Gun violence is not a predetermined fact of life; there are democracies all over the world who do not struggle with this endemic violence.

The bottom line: It is up to us, the adults, to protect our nation’s children from gun violence. To let your voice be heard and take action on reinstating the assault weapons ban, click here. We simply do not have to live this way, so let’s change it together.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

The American Federation of Teachers was formed by teachers more than 100 years ago and is now a 1.7 million-member union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and o

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