Mississippi Lawmakers Considering Letting School Staff Carry GunsBy Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Feb 2013 05:13pm |
Mississippi teachers, administrators and school staff could soon be allowed to carry a weapon on school grounds. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports state lawmakers are considering making school staff a first line of defense to increase school safety.
Mississippi lawmakers are considering a bill that would let school boards around the state decide which employees can carry a concealed weapon on school grounds.
The bill's author Bubby Carpenter of Burnsville says having more armed staff could potentially deter violent attacks at schools.
"You never hear of a police department getting shot up because everyone in there has got a weapon. And I want the media to get this out and say look, some school districts might have some teachers with some weapons on them and it might deter another shooting," Carpenter said.
Carpenter says districts could choose to allow any staff member to carry a concealed gun including teachers, administrators, coaches or even janitors and bus drivers.
The proposal raises problems for Representative Cecil Brown of Jackson who does not think it is responsible to ask school staff to double as police officers.
"It actually raises the threat level to some extent. I trust the people who work in the schools. That is not the issue. They are just not trained. A three day training course or a one week training course is not going to teach them to deal with a situation in where they feel threatened," Brown said.
Robert Laird runs the School Safety Center Foundation, a group that trains armed school resource officers.
Laird says the training to get a concealed carry permit is much lower than the dozens of hours of yearly training and active shooter training resource and police officers receive.
"One of the things you have to realize in a school shooting situation, it is highly fluid, rapidly developing and unless a person is trained to operate in that environment you run a statistical probability that the person will freeze and they will not respond at all. Or they will respond inappropriately," Laird said.
Laird also says there is possibility that staff would lose control of their weapon or have a gun taken from them.
The bill is currently in the Senate Education committee, and faces a Tuesday deadline for a vote.
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