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Mississippi House Revives A Bill To Arm School Employees

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 12 Mar 2013 06:40pm | comments

The Mississippi House has again approved a bill to let school employees such as teachers, administrators and janitors carry concealed weapons on campus. MPB’s Jeffrey Hess reports supporters of the bill pitch it as a cheaper way to improve school safety.

The bill would let school boards decide which employees can carry a concealed weapon on campus.

House Education Committee Chairman John Moore of Brandon raised the specter of the deadly Newtown, Connecticut shooting to rally support for the bill….

“All they would have had to have done is have one person in the building with a weapon that could have stopped that man. But as we sit right now, we have 500-thousand students sitting in our classes everyday in public schools in Mississippi that are absolutely defenseless in the event of something like that happening,” Moore said.

The house bill replaces a Senate bill that would have provided matching funds for schools to hire armed resource officers.

Supporters of the house bill say schools do not have the money to put up their end of the cash.

But opponents counter that injecting more guns into schools will make them more dangerous.

Representative Bryant Clark of Pickens pointed to a recent incident in Madison County where an 8th grade student found and stole a substitute teacher’s gun.

“I am for school safety as well, but ladies and gentlemen, our teachers have a lot to do during the day. They have to make sure that their classes start on time. They have to make sure they are getting out on time. They have to make sure they have their exam papers and their homework prepared. And now we are putting the extra burden on them as far as carrying a gun,” Clark said.

But Representative John Hines of Greenville wants to go want step further and swap guns for tazers that could still provide safety but cause less harm if lost or stolen.

“Then you put an enraged person with a firearm in the school. My concern is, give them tazers so we can have the safest outcome as possible,” Hines said.

The bill to allow schools employees to carry weapons on campus has been killed by the state Senate previously. The chairman of the Senate education committee says the house vote means the two chambers will have to go to conference and attempt to find compromise.

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