By Andrea Sears, Public News Service
for The Post Publications
HARRISBURG PA – The state Senate Education Committee is preparing to vote today (Wednesday, April 19, 2017) on a proposed law that would allow school personnel to carry loaded weapons in public schools. If ultimately approved by the Legislature and governor, it would give school districts the power to allow employees who have a concealed-carry permit and appropriate training to have access to firearms in school buildings.
Senate Bill 383 is described as “providing for protection and defense of students.” Republican Sen. Donald White of Indiana PA, sponsor of the bill, said it would provide another option to improve safety and security of children, teachers and school staff.
Susan Spicka, executive director of Education Voters of Pennsylvania, said her group looked for evidence that arming school personnel increases student safety and found none. “The National School Safety Security Services advises against it,” she said. “Every state study that has been done about school safety has not recommended it.”
Spicka added there have been no public hearings on White’s bill, which was introduced in February.
Two federal laws restrict the possession of firearms in or near K-12 schools: the Gun-Free School Zones Act; and the Gun-Free Schools Act, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, it also reports the federal prohibition does “not apply to those licensed by a state or locality to possess the gun, including people licensed to possess firearms or to carry concealed firearms.”
Photo from Public News Service via Wikimedia Commons