State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Bill allowing teachers to carry guns could see Senate action

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jun 26, 2017 10:09 PM
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The bill has prompted clashes between gun rights advocates and the commonwealth's gun control and teacher groups. (Photo by AP)

 

(Harrisburg) -- The state Senate is considering a plan to allow teachers and other school employees with permits to carry guns at work.

Supporters say it's about keeping kids safe, while opponents are worried the measure would do just the opposite.

Senate Bill 383 is sponsored by GOP Senator Donald White of Armstrong County, who said it would give schools more options in protecting students.

He added, it could be particularly helpful for rural districts that are far from police stations and might not employ their own security guard.

"This is just one more tool to help them--if they see fit--to protect their families," he said.

But the measure has received considerable backlash from gun control and teachers' groups.

Many--like Shira Goodman, with CeaseFire PA--say arming school employees would be an unnecessary liability.

"If you can't afford a school armed security guard, how are you going to afford the insurance to have armed teachers?" she asked. "It doesn't make any sense.'

"If we want to spend money on these kinds of things, that's what we should be giving money on," she added. "Security assessments, better communication with police, and maybe more money for security guards and school resource officers."

The plan would require school employees to have a concealed carry permit and complete a police training class before carrying a gun around children.

The bill was initially slated for a Senate vote Monday, but was pulled from the schedule. A Senate spokeswoman explained that there is "potential for a number of amendments to be introduced. and we wanted to have time to review those."

It's unclear what those amendments might do. Governor Tom Wolf has said he would veto the bill in its current form.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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