OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s been at the center of a national debate regarding school safety.
Earlier this month, 17 people were killed when an armed gunman opened fire inside a high school in Parkland, Florida. Even though the school had an armed school resource officer on campus, the deputy did not go into the school and did not confront the gunman.
Following the shooting, President Donald Trump said that schools should begin arming “people with certified training” to carry guns in schools, though he noted that “some people will oppose” that — and urged those opponents to voice their criticism.
Even before the Parkland massacre, an Oklahoma representative authored a bill to arm personnel on school property.
House Bill 3192, also known as the ‘Oklahoma Firearms Act of 2018,’ would “add to the existing personnel allowed to carry a firearm on school property.”
Under a law passed in 2015, Oklahoma school districts can allow armed employees in schools, but only if they have completed peace officer training or armed security guard training.
Rep. Jeff Coody told the Associated Press that many employees don’t have the time or resources to complete that kind of training, especially in rural Oklahoma.
“You might have a veteran teaching a science class, or a coach that is well-trained or can get training,” Rep. Coody told News 4. “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.”
According to the bill summary, Coody’s bill would only apply to school districts that adopt a policy to authorize the carrying of a handgun onto school proeprty.
The measure authorizes the school board to designate certain personnel who have a concealed carry license to carry a firearm at school.
“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.”
On Wednesday, the House’s Public Safety Committee approved the measure with a final vote of 11-5.