Future of dead gun bill unknown

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

Had it been signed into law, House Bill 1083 would have allowed teachers and select school faculty to carry firearms on school property. But it died during the 2018 legislative session after the House refused amendments made by the Senate. Now its future for next year’s session is unknown.

Firearms are prohibited on any school campus unless the person carrying the weapon is a law enforcement officer, which includes school resource officers.

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The Senate version of the bill, called “Mississippi School Safety Act,” would have allowed school districts to provide teachers and other public school employees with specialized concealed weapon training before they would be allowed to carry firearms on school property.

According to the bill, “The governing body of a school, in consultation with school administrators and local law enforcement could establish a school safety program by which designated and trained employees are authorized to carry concealed firearms for the protection of the students, employees and others on the campus of the school.”

Under the program, teachers would have been required to obtain a concealed carry permit and participate in a Mississippi Department of Public Safety approved school-safety program at least once a year.

State Representative for District 106 John Glen Corley said his belief is that not all teachers should be required to be armed, two on each campus would be the limit.

State Representative for District 108 Stacey Wilkes said that although she personally supported the school safety amendment proposed by the Senate, members of the House could not agree on the language of the bill.

The law will now remain the same prior to the amendments and enhanced conceal carry holders will continue to have the same rights as before, Wilkes said.

Corley said it was better to let the bill die and that it wasn’t much of a loss.

“As far as bringing that bill back next year, I guess time will tell. Right now, we are focused on issues that are still alive,” Wilkes said.