SANTA FE, N.M. -- Santa Fe Public Schools has decided to cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The school board unanimously voted to stop taking money from the NRA for the district’s ROTC program.
called the $4,000 dollars the district gets from the NRA every year – "blood money." The money had been used to purchase equipment for the ROTC.
"The NRA stands for one thing and one thing only – to support the sale and manufacturing of firearms," Carrillo said. "And you just have to look back through their history, they're not there when it comes to gun safety, when it comes to gun registration, when it comes to having tougher but sensible gun purchasing laws."
Santa Fe isn't the only district that got money from the NRA. The Associated Press revealed the NRA gave $7.3 million to hundreds of schools from 2010 to 2016, including more than $125,000 for Albuquerque Schools.
JROTC director for APS Lt. Col. Ralph Ingles said the money does not go toward purchasing firearms or rifles. He said safety is one of the most important subjects covered in the district's ROTC programs.
In Santa Fe, Carrillo said the district's ROTC program can be funded in other ways.
"There is no way on Earth we would sacrifice your funding for this initiative," he said. "We know that we can find $4,000 in the budget if we have to. We are also extremely confident – emphasis on extremely – that there are community partners that would come forward to fund this."
The Broward County School District in Florida has already stopped taking NRA funding after February’s school shooting that killed 17 students. Now Santa Fe Public Schools could be next.
"This vote tonight, this is not about the Second Amendment, Carrillo said. "It's not about someone's rights to have firearms. It's not about even background checks. This is about one thing and one thing only tonight -- not accepting money from the NRA."
The folks who run the ROTC program at Santa Fe High had no comment. The NRA sent this statement:
"The money in question is raised by individuals within the Santa Fe community. The school board would punish a program such as JROTC, which teaches leadership and develops character among local youth, just to make a political point. The school board should be made to absorb the costs of this program out of their own budget."