Position Statement - Gun Safety and Violence Prevention

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National PTA has a rich history of advocating for the safety of children and youth. Our association is committed to federal efforts to protect children and youth from gun violence and strongly believes that Congress must enact legislation that will help prevent future tragedies from occurring while preserving the lawful use of firearms for sport and personal protection. Additionally, National PTA advocates for restricting access to guns from persons who may endanger public safety.

Any effort to improve the safety of our nation's youth and our communities must be comprehensive and include gun safety and violence-prevention measures. Conversations about school safety, gun safety, and violence prevention cannot be limited to video games, violent programming, and mental health. Our nation's leaders must acknowledge and address the ease of access to firearms and assault weapons. We must make every attempt to reduce violence, especially those incidents that involve firearms.

National PTA and its constituent bodies promote the establishment of, and support for legislation that improves youth and community safety and restrict guns to only responsible owners. Practical gun safety and violence prevention legislation will protect not just our children but all Americans from gun violence while at the same time respecting the rights of law-abiding gun owners. We must all work together to end gun violence.

Our association advocates for the following:

  • Universal background checks, that require any individual or entity who sells a firearm to conduct background checks and fill out proper paperwork so that guns can be traced. This includes sales at gun shows, private transactions and online sales.
  • A minimum of three business days to conduct background checks
  • Ban online sales of kits that can be used to make/modify guns, such as bump stocks
  • Greater enforcement of federal and state minimum age requirements for handgun purchases
  • Raise the federal minimum age to 21 to purchase handguns, shot guns and rifles from any type of dealer
  • Revocation of the federal firearm license of a dealer who knowingly sells to minors
  • Restrictions on the purchase of guns by adults who have committed violent crimes as a juvenile
  • Increased penalties for the transfer of handguns or semiautomatic assault weapons to juveniles for use in a crime
  • Passage of a federal ban on assault weapons which includes weapons originally designed for military or law enforcement, for fully automatic purposes, are designed to be fired in full or semi-automatic mode in combat, and are designed to accommodate a large capacity combat magazine[1]
  • Enactment of Federal legislation that incentivizes states to adopt Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) or “red flag” laws that respect due process, individual privacy and do not disproportionately discriminate against any individual based on race, gender, disability or ethnicity
  • State and Federal funding for comprehensive research of the causes and effects of gun violence
  • Safe storage of firearms including the use of safety locks and other safety devices to prevent youth from obtaining and discharging a gun
  • Appropriate evaluation and wrap-around services for students who have brought a firearm to school.
  • Robust education programs to teach students, parents, and community members about gun safety and violence prevention

National PTA believes that gun violence can and will decrease through these and other measures. Adoption of the measures above will make our communities, as well as our schools, safe for everyone. National PTA believes we must enact common sense legislation that will reduce gun violence and help protect all children and youth while protecting the lawful use of firearms for sport and personal protection.


Adopted by the 1999 Board of Directors
Amended by the 2013 Board of Directors
Amended by the 2016 Board of Directors
Amended by the 2019 Board of Directors




[1] National PTA. (1990). Firearms Position Statement. Alexandria, VA: National PTA.