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In the aftermath of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., President Trump embraced a proposal to arm teachers as a way to prevent further mass shootings in schools.
His support for the idea, which had been proposed by the National Rifle Association, invigorated a nationwide debate over whether the people educating children should also bear the responsibility of wielding firearms to protect them.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday signed a bill that prevents local school districts from allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns on school grounds.
“The answer to the gun violence epidemic plaguing this country has never been and never will be more guns,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.
The bill, which still allows law enforcement officials and other school security personnel to carry firearms, was passed in January as part of a larger package of gun-control measures pushed through the Legislature this year. On Monday, Mr. Cuomo signed one of those bills, extending the background check waiting period and banning bump stocks; on Tuesday, he signed bills banning undetectable guns and expanding firearm safe storage laws.
While federal law already prohibits people from possessing guns in or around school grounds, it provides an exception for people licensed to carry a firearm.
At least 40 states have laws on the books that prohibit guns at K-12 schools, even when the owner has a concealed-weapons permit, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control advocacy group.
But J. Adam Skaggs, the chief counsel and policy director for the center, said that within these laws are a patchwork of exceptions and loopholes that concerned gun-control advocates.
In New York, until Wednesday, state law did not prevent school districts from making the decision to arm educators or permit them to carry firearms in school.
But officials at several state educators’ organizations said that they did not know of any school districts that had taken steps to do so.
“I don’t know of any that are doing that now,” said Kevin Casey, the executive director of the School Administrators Association of New York State. “And honestly, I’m uncertain as to whether there are districts in which there’s a real push to do that.”
Though it drew support from gun control groups, teachers unions and state education professional organizations, some Republican lawmakers and gun-rights advocates denounced the bill as largely symbolic.
“The Legislature and the politicians of New York State have done absolutely nothing to protect our kids in the schools,” said Tom King, the president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.
Mr. King added that he and his group, which is associated with the National Rifle Association, did not support arming teachers, but that he thought the decision should be left to individual school districts rather than the state.
The bill’s principal sponsor, State Senator Todd Kaminsky, acknowledged on Wednesday that it was largely a pre-emptive measure meant to clarify the state’s stance.
But, he added, “I have little doubt that if we left this open, especially if the president would make federal changes concerning laws on guns on school grounds, there would be some number of districts that would seek to do this.”
Mr. Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Island, first introduced the bill in March 2018, less than two weeks after Mr. Trump’s remarks on the issue.
As the idea appeared to gather some steam from conservative groups, Mr. Kaminsky began to survey education professionals and security experts to determine its merits.
“I came away with an absolute notion that this was just a horrible idea,” Mr. Kaminsky said.
Gun control groups have said that adding more firearms into schools only would increase the risk of shootings caused by mishandled weapons or by students getting access to improperly secured guns.
Mr. Kaminsky’s bill ultimately died in committee in 2018 without receiving a vote from the Republican-controlled State Senate. But the idea of arming teachers never faded into the background.
Last August, federal education officials explored whether federal funding intended for academic and enrichment programs could be used to buy guns for educators. It pushed the decision to Congress, which has not passed legislation addressing the issue.
Then in December, a Florida commission investigating the Parkland shooting concluded that some of the 17 deaths at Stoneman Douglas High could have been prevented if educators inside the building had been armed.
The report spurred lawmakers in Florida to lift the state’s ban on arming teachers this year, making Florida one of at least eight states to explicitly permit school employees to carry firearms on school grounds.
In New York, legislators went in the other direction. When Mr. Kaminsky reintroduced his bill in Albany in January, Democrats had taken control of the State Senate, and the bill sailed through the Legislature largely along partisan lines.
A spokesman for the Senate Republicans, Scott Reif, said on Wednesday that lawmakers opposed to the bill were not in favor of arming teachers but thought the state should focus its efforts on other, potentially more effective measures.
“This is not a ‘Dirty Harry’ movie,” said Michael Mulgrew, the president of New York City’s teachers union. “That’s not how this works.”