Mississippi Bill Would Allow Two Teachers, Staff Per School To Carry Concealed Weapons

Will Mississippi Schools No Longer Be Gun-Free?
drug and gun free school zone...
drug and gun free school zone...

Mississippi teachers may be getting some new, albeit unconventional, school supplies if a new piece of legislation passes in the House.

Under House Bill 958, which the House Education Committee passed Monday, two teachers or staff members in Mississippi schools would be allowed to carry concealed weapons, the Associated Press reports.

The measure is part of a recent trend of proposed legislation to enable school workers to carry guns in school, following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Similar legislation that would place armed guards in schools or give school workers the right to carry guns has been proposed in several states with murky results.

While guns-in-school initiatives are currently in the works in North Carolina and Georgia, among other states, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a concealed weapons bill that passed the state legislature. In Colorado, Democrats turned down Republican-proposed bills that would allow teachers to carry guns in favor of tougher gun legislation, the Denver Post reports.

Under Mississippi Code, possession of a gun on school property -- concealed or not -- is classified as a felony crime. However, if the new measure passes, local school boards would have the ability to designate up to two school workers who pass a firearms safety to carry weapons on school grounds.

"Time results in dead bodies," Rep. Lester "Bubba" Carpenter (R-Burnsville), who introduced the legislation, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. "This is just a way to allow school districts the chance to protect themselves."

However, since individual school districts would be responsible for the costs associated with the Department of Public Safety firearms training and gun permits, the option to arm teachers and staff would not be feasible for all districts.

According the AP, Carpenter drafted the bill with the help of a National Rifle Association lobbyist.

In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, the NRA called for armed guards in every school across the country; however, many have balked at the proposition. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter labeled the proposal a "completely dumbass idea," while NRA-endorsed Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) criticized the association's stance, suggesting that decisions on school security should be made at the local level.

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