The Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to amend a Senate-approved bill and resurrect the idea of arming teachers.
Under a new proposal, school districts in the state could allow teachers to bring a gun to school if they have a concealed carry permit, according to the Hattiesburg American. Schools would need permission first from the state, and teachers without a permit would have to pass a firearms safety course. The proposal was tacked onto a Senate-approved bill that would provide state funds for cops at schools.
The Senate killed a previous House proposal last month to allow teachers to bring guns to school if they had passed a safety course on firearms.
“This bill is not about guns, it’s not about teachers carrying guns,” said Rep. Jeff Guice (R-Ocean Springs), who introduced the proposal, the Hattiesburg American reported. “It’s about school boards making decisions about what’s appropriate. Each school district is very different.”
Supporters say that lives could have been saved if a teacher had been armed in Newtown, Conn., during the elementary school shooting that left 20 children dead, the Clarion Ledger reported. But opponents argue that it would be safer to have trained cops with guns in schools.
A conference committee comprised of House and Senate members will now work to develop a final bill that includes the new proposal. Both chambers would then vote on that bill.
In the wake of the Newtown shooting, multiple states have been pushing plans to allow teachers to be armed during the school day. Last week, South Dakota became the first state to allow teachers to bring guns to school, and a a Kansas legislative committee approved an amendment allowing school districts to permit teachers with concealed carry permits to carry guns.
Last month, Arizona State Attorney General Tom Horne (R) backed a plan that would allow school districts to nominate certain teachers to carry guns. In Oklahoma, lawmakers are considering a plan that would allow teachers to get trained as reserve police officers. After receiving firearm training, the teachers would then provide security in addition to their teaching duties.