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Everyone agrees we have a gun violence problem in our nation. What we disagree on is the solution. One side wants to make it harder to acquire firearms and ban assault style weapons. The other wants to arm more ‘good guys’ to engage in shootouts when a gunman shows up at one of our schools or colleges. This second option is what’s moving in our legislature right now at both the K-12 and college level.
SB 10 will allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on college campus settings if the person has a permit and training. One of the arguments is, ‘It’s already happening so we should regulate it.’ Under this reasoning why have any laws since someone is always breaking them? SB 10 passed the Senate last week and is now assigned to the House Judiciary. The underlined text at the end of the previous hotlink is the new proposed language allowing guns. See this Everytown for Gun Safety action to lawmakers to keep guns off WV college campuses.
On the day the Campus Carry bill passed, NPR’s All Things Considered included a segment on America’s relationship with guns, and shared these perhaps not-so shocking statistics:
- [As of Jan. 24,] there have already been 39 mass shootings this year in the U.S.
- The US is the only country in the world with more civilian-owned guns than people, with about 120 guns for every 100 Americans.
- So far, more than 2,800 people have died by gun violence this year, the majority by suicide.
- Guns are the leading cause of death for kids in America. More than 3,500 children were killed by guns in 2021.
- Black people bear the heaviest burden of gun deaths. Black men and boys, aged 15 to 34, are 21 times more likely than their white counterparts to die because of gun violence based on one recent analysis.
- The percentage of people who used guns to defend themselves from violent crimes, less than 1%.
Teachers Packing Heat
Two other bills that are on the move would put guns in our public schools under the guise that it will improve safety and security. SB 282 creates the West Virginia Guardian Program. It is up for passage on Monday in the Senate. The bill would allow school boards to employ retired law enforcement, veterans, or others with the ‘required’ training to roam the halls with guns as independent contractors. However, multiple studies have found no association between the presence of armed officers in schools and the deterrence of violence.
In the House, the Education Committee has advanced a bill (HB 2549) to allow K-12 teachers, administrators and school staff to volunteer as SPOs (School Protection Officers) and to carry concealed weapons in our schools. We’re told that a dozen or so other states are already doing this. What could go wrong? How about we wait and see how it turns out in those states? Is the answer to too many guns in our nation adding even more guns? The bill advanced despite concerns shared by a school safety administrator with the state Department of Homeland Security — the agency that would be training educators to carry guns at school. The bill now goes before the House Judiciary Committee. Our friends at the ACLU of WV have more on why arming teachers won’t make schools safer and are urging calls to Judiciary Chair Moore Capito to keep this dangerous bill off his committee’s agenda.
Delegate Moore Capito – Phone: (304) 340-3252 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org