Published time: March 02, 2013 01:29
Lawmakers in South Dakota have passed a bill that would allow school districts to arm staff and teachers with guns to make their schools “safer”.
State Senators on Wednesday voted 21-14 to pass the measure, despite large-scale opposition from school administrators and personnel, who are largely opposed to bringing weapons into their schools.
Supporters of the bill claim that arming teachers could prevent tragedies like the Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, said that he would leave the decision to arm teachers up to individual school districts, but that he strongly recommends it.
When Craig advocated for the measure earlier this year, he said that having gun-free schools would simply make them more vulnerable and invite potential mass murderers.
“The possibility of an armed presence in any of our schools is a deterrent,” Craig told Fox News, claiming that no shooter would attack a school whose teachers are armed.
Supporters of the bill also argue that teachers would only become armed after partaking in a “School Sentinel program” that would provide them with firearms training by law enforcement officers. No teachers would be forced to take part in the program and could choose to remain unarmed.
But opponents, including many teachers themselves, remain uncomfortable about the prospect of having dangerous firearms in schools. Rep. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, said teachers should not be employed to act as law enforcement officers and that arming them would make him uncomfortable about sending his child to kindergarten.
“Doesn’t this blur the line between a teacher and a law enforcement officer?” he told Fox News. “Do we want to tell our children the only way to be safe is to carry a gun?”
FULL STORY: http://rt.com/usa/south-dacota-school-gun-705/