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WASHINGTON -- The Council of the Great City Schools strongly supports President Obama’s new executive actions to reduce gun violence and make our communities safer.Gun violence has touched nearly every major urban community in the United States over the last decade as well as many non-urban communities, and has taken the lives of too many promising young people for the nation to continue to tolerate inaction. Hardly a week passes without another example of a mass shooting or street violence involving firearms that should not be so easily available. Doing nothing is no longer an option, and the president should be applauded for his courage and determination to end the violence.Our public schools, particularly in the nation’s Great Cities, remain one of the safest places for our children to be, but the toll that street violence takes on our students is alarming and heart wrenching. Too many students have been gunned down or have seen family members, friends, or classmates killed; too many students miss school because of their apprehension about what will happen walking to and from school; and too many students are unable to concentrate on their academic work out of fear for themselves or grief for others. The price that our young people, particularly our males of color, are paying in our cities for the inaction of adults in reducing gun violence is unbearable. And the nation itself is paying a high cost as it squanders the lives of so much needed talent.Today, the president announced a four-point action plan to reduce gun violence: licensure for gun sellers and expanded background checks on gun buyers; safer communities and stepped up law enforcement; enhanced mental health treatment and reporting; and research on gun safety technology.This is an important step forward, but ending an epidemic of violence will take more than one voice, and more than one plan. For our part, the Great City Schools are working double-time to ensure that our students are safe, that discipline is just, and that achievement is high.Congress, for its part, should be acting in tandem with the White House to ensure much broader gun reforms. At this critical time we need more than the president and his leadership. We need all of our leaders to find the political courage to come together to safeguard the future of our children, our communities, and our country.
Statement by Michael Casserly, Executive Director
Council of the Great City Schools
On New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer