POLITICS
03/08/2013 03:33 pm ET Updated Mar 03, 2014

Guns In Classrooms: South Dakota Governor Signs Law Allowing Teachers To Arm Themselves

Teachers are now allowed to bring guns into the classroom in South Dakota.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed House Bill 1087 into law Friday, enabling state school boards to "supervise the arming of school employees" or hire security personnel.

As The New York Times notes, South Dakota is believed to be the first U.S. state to sign such legislation into law.

Rep. Scott Craig (R-Rapid City) and Rep. Betty Olson (R-Prairie City) drafted South Dakota's armed teachers legislation following the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In December, Olson told the Black Hills Pioneer that she "believes arming school personnel could have mitigated the Newtown massacre."

The legislation passed the state's House with a 42-17 vote in January and was approved by state senators, 21-14, last week.

While several other states have similar guns-in-schools proposals on the docket, the drafted bills have been met by roadblocks.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has criticized such state proposals to arm teachers, calling them "a marketing opportunity" for business in the industry to sell more guns.

Similarly, the results of a national teacher survey suggest teachers are not too keen on arming themselves in school. According to an online poll conducted earlier this year, 72.4 percent of teachers would not likely bring a firearm to school, if allowed.

However, many state legislators are continuing to push legislation that would allow teachers to carry firearms.

In Kansas this week, lawmakers tacked on a guns-for-teachers amendment to an existing bill. Though the concealed weapons legislation, which would also allow teachers to carry guns, passed the House committee Wednesday, the bill still faces several more impediments before it could be signed into law.

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