Even as the National Rifle Association (NRA) announced a new push today to put armed guards in schools across the country, state lawmakers across the country are considering similar proposals. So far, legislation related to guns on school grounds has come up in at least three dozen states. The vast majority of these bills would make it easier for school personnel, guards, and volunteers to carry guns on campus, while a handful would toughen laws prohibiting firearms at schools.
- State legislatures try to nullify federal gun laws
- Since Newtown, full employment for gun lobbyists
- Majority of states prohibit access to gun records
- Ad blitz by Mayor Mike's gun control group
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At least two states--South Dakota and Virginia--have enacted such laws to date and in one state, Alabama, the governor in March vetoed a bill that would allow armed voluteer security forces on school grounds. To track state legislation in progress using Sunlight's Scout notification service, click here.
All of the bills relating to guns in schools speak to the tragedy last December at Connecticut's Sandy Hook elementary school, where 20 children and six school staff members were shot and killed by Adam Lanza, 20.
- Alabama. While the House did not override Gov. Robert Bentley's veto of a bill that would allow armed volunteer security forces in Franklin County schools, the bill's sponsor, Democrat Rep. Jonny Morrow, has said he will introduce a revamped bill this month that he hopes will pass.
- South Dakota. In early March, the South Dakota legislature was the first state to approve a law to create a "school sentinel" program that specifically permits the arming of teachers. School boards will be permitted to create programs allowing armed school employees, hired security guards, and volunteers protect children at schools.
- In Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wyoming, various bills to ease gun laws on school campuses failed; however, more than 80 proposals were still in play at the time of this posting. These range from proposals to establish voluntary armed security forces to allowing concealed weapon permit holders to carry guns on campus to arming school personnnel.
Soon after the Sandy Hook tragedy, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre argued that kids should have armed protection at schools, famously saying that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." President Barack Obama's gun violence plan takes a different approach, calling for funding to put another 1,000 resource officers in schools--police officers who are specially trained not just to physically defend a school but also to develop relationships with students to help avert violence.
The NRA has played tough on the issue, in January posting an ad that charged Obama was an "elitist hypocrite" for being "skeptical" about putting armed guards at schools while his daughters are protected at theirs by security forces.
(Contributing: Keenan Steiner)