Bill would allow teachers to carry guns at school, events
School Board president says teachers would need to be trained
The bill, HB707, sponsored by Rep. Raymond E. Garofalo, would grant an exception for school administrators and teachers to carry concealed firearms in otherwise firearm-free zones where they are employed.
Current law makes it a crime for anyone to carry a firearm or a dangerous weapon school property.
The legislation would require those interested to take eight additional hours of tactical training prior to being allowed to carry firearms on campus.
The proposed bill would also disallow the School Board to limit which of their employees would be allowed to carry weapons.
The bill appears to be aimed at providing security for schools during a potential school shooting incident.
However, Ellis Alexander, District 1 board member, said while school shootings are a problem, allowing teachers and administrators to be armed may cause more harm than good.
"It is nonsense. There is a problem, but that is definitely not a solution,” he said. “Anytime you have a weapon somewhere there is a chance it could go off accidentally and someone could get killed or injured.”
John Smith, District 5 board member and president of the Louisiana State School Board Association, said the bill is purely a political move on behalf of legislators.
“It is definitely a case of Baton Rouge looking at a problem from a political perspective rather than a practical solution. The practical solution is not to put the guns in the hands of educators,” he said. “I am definitely opposed to that and I don’t think I could be convinced otherwise.”
Allowing teachers to be armed would change the perception of schools, according to Smith.
“Schools exist for the purpose of educating young people,” he said. “I think it would make schools seem like they are a place of lawlessness.”
School Board President Jay Robichaux took a more moderate approach on the potential to allow teachers and administrators to be armed.
“I am only in favor of anyone carrying a firearm into a school that is employed by us if there is proper training available for them,” he said.
Although the bill was introduced at the beginning of the current session, it has not yet received any debate or been assigned to a committee. Unless action is taken by the Louisiana Speaker of the House, the bill will likely not be brought up for a vote this year.
Similar legislation that was proposed in last year’s legislative session failed.
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