OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma House committee has passed a bill which could allow teachers to have firearms on school property.
House 3192, authored by Rep. Jeff Coody, R-Grandfield, gives local school boards the ability to designate personnel to carry a firearm on school property.
It passed in the House committee on Public Safety 11 to 5 Wednesday.
"You might have a veteran teaching a science class or a coach that is well trained or can get training," Coody said. "For way too long, we have allowed the theory that if we just eliminate guns from a situation, then that will make it safer, and we’ve had just the opposite happen."
Coody told News 4 the school shooting on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida is an example of why personnel, aside from school resource officers, should be armed. An attorney for former Stoneman Douglas High School resource officer Scott Peterson said he did not enter the school that day because he thought the shooting was coming from outside the buildings.
"You can’t stop an active shooter by running off into a closet somewhere, and putting a desk against the door and hope and pray that the gunman won’t come in," he said. "You’ve got to be able to meet force with force. The whole idea of a gun-free zone is just a lie, and it’s killing our kids."
During the committee meeting Wednesday, the measure drew concerns from some House democrats.
"If you’re going to have someone in a school who’s potentially going to be confronting an active shooter and there are lots of children, students around, don’t you think it would be responsible to require at least arm security guard/CLEET TRAINING?" said Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman.
Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, questioned the implications of the bill if it were coupled with another measure by Coody, which also passed the House committee Wednesday. Under the bill, House Bill 2951, people would not need a license to carry a firearm.
"Anyone can carry at any time. I know you say it doesn’t work that way, I’m telling you, when you read them together, it does work that way," Williams said.
Both bills now move on to the full House floor.