An Oklahoma bill to allow school boards to more easily protect their schools against armed attack is another step closer to passage. Several schools in Oklahoma already do so. HB 2339 allows school boards more flexibility in their decisions.
On 13 March, 2019, HB 2339 passed the Oklahoma House by a nearly three to one margin. There were 72 votes for the bill, 25 against, and 4 excused.
Oklahoma Senator David Bullard has been successful in passing Teacher Carry legislation, through the education committee. The bill will now go to the full senate.
House Bill 2336, by Sen. David Bullard, would allow a local board of education to adopt a policy to authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school property by school personnel who hold a valid reserve peace officer certification or who possess a valid handgun license.
"In a day and age where we've witnessed unthinkable acts of carnage to the most innocent among us, I'm proud to bring legislation that will allow the vulnerable to be protected. This bill provides local control by permitting a school that can't afford a resource officer to still be able to protect their students from acts of violence," said Bullard, R-Durant. "Schools can decide whether to use this protection or not. It's a decision best left to local schools and law enforcement. This simply gives local schools the option of offering greater protection for their students - an option that could well save lives."
Bullard noted that 24 other states have Teacher Carry including three neighboring states. Oklahoma private schools have had the policy in place effectively for six years.
People with concealed carry permits have been shown to be safer, and more law abiding, than police officers. The effect of the law would be to allow local schools to increase protection against school shootings without the expense of full time school resource officers. School resource officers cost between $50,000 and $80,000 a year for mere salary costs. Benefits are typically 40-80 percent of salaries, adding $20,000 to $60,000 to the cost per officer per year.
By allowing interested teachers, many of which have prior experience as police officers or in the military, to be armed while on the job in schools, there are no additional salary or benefits costs.
The bill simply allows boards of education to designate school personnel who already have training, to carry firearms at their school. This adds an additional level of security, and greatly increases the difficulty of planning for attacks on schools.
The bill does not differentiate between school personnel. Any school personnel who possess an armed security guard and private investigator license, hold a valid reserve peace officer certification, or posses a valid hand gun license, and meet any other criteria required by the school board, would be available to be certified by the school board to carry at the school.
Teachers, administrators, maintenance personnel would all be available for a school board to recruit from.
The bill has been mischaracterized by Rolling Stone as "Arming Teachers with no weapon training".
The bill does nothing of the sort. It simply allows school boards more discretion to increase the defensive capabilities at their school.
24 states currently allow school boards to determine who will be armed at their school.
No significant problems with armed school personnel have been noted in those states.
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