Georgia School District Approves For Non-Police Personnel To Carry Guns on School Property and School Buses
Guns discouraged for teachers, so far
On July 16 it was reported that a Georgia school district has enacted a policy under state laws to allow non-police personnel to carry guns on school property, including in school buildings, in safety-zones and on school buses.
The new policies are covered under Georgia laws 16–11–127.1 and 16–11–130.1 which define what constitutes a weapon and what defines school safety zones. Under these policies which take effect in Cobb County, it is specifically called out that teachers are excluded from the policy unless they have particular skills that make them suitable candidates for carrying a gun.
A requirement for training
Earlier this year, Governor Brian Kemp signed new legislation into effect for Georgia, making it one of over 20 states that allows so-called constitutional carry of handguns. The measures were applauded by gun-rights advocates, but have drawn criticism from those who believe that it makes it impossible to track and control who can legitimately own and carry a gun, and who can’t.
While constitutional carry laws negate requirements for training or tests to prove gun owners are proficient at using them, the new policy being enacted in this Georgia school district requires far more in the way of training for those permitted to carry a gun in school safety zones.
According to the policy documentation, all school personnel who are approved by the school superintendent to carry a weapon must complete:
“…training on judgment, pistol shooting, marksmanship, and a review of current laws relating to the use of force for the defense of self or others.”
Such training and testing should hopefully ensure that at least those who are approved to carry guns for the safety of staff and kids, don’t represent a further danger through lack of proficiency.
The policy has its critics
The policy is not universally popular, and as might be expected, opinions are divided along partisan lines. Democratic nominee for state superintendent of schools, Alisha Thomas Searcy had this to say about the policy during its consultation period:
“As a parent, the last thing I want to think about is more guns at my daughter’s school or any other type school. I certainly agree that there’s a need for more caring adults in our school, but not ones who carry guns and aren’t police officers.”
Cobb county is not the first in Georgia to arm school staff either.
In 2019, Laurens County took the decision to arm teachers in its schools, following on from the Parkland school shooting in Florida.
With the introduction of the new policy in Cobb County following in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas it would seem that such policies do tend to follow as a reaction to recent incidents. Whether they will achieve the desired end of protecting school safety can only be proven over time it would seem.
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