In recent years, comprehensive plans to ensure school safety by creating evidence-based policies have been overlooked in favor of proposals backed by the gun lobby that would allow teachers, administrators, and staff members to carry guns into our elementary, middle and high schools. At a moment in time where people are understandably looking for answers in the wake of recent shootings on school grounds, these bills are sold as a way to keep school communities safe.
Yet, in reality, they do just the opposite. Rather than protecting West Virginia’s children, HB 4299 would place them in greater danger by allowing teachers, administrators, and support staff with minimal training to carry hidden, loaded firearms in their schools. West Virginia legislators should reject this dangerous bill and instead focus on evidence-based solutions to protect schools from gun violence.
This bill would add an exception to law that allows staff to carry hidden, loaded guns in schools. HB 4299 also allows an unlimited amount of armed personnel like this on school grounds! The training program for these teachers hasn’t even been created yet… Nothing in the bill even grants PARENTS the right to know which personnel are armed at their own children’s’ school.
The bill passed the House Education Committee about 10 days ago and as yet has not been taken up by the House Judiciary Committee. If this happens we will reach out to you for your action so please be on the lookout for future alerts.
In addition to HB 4299 there are four other bills related to armed personnel that are not teachers. One of these, HB 4851 draws from those who have been in law enforcement. This bill has passed the House with a controversial amendment that limits some types of diversity training from the list of training that may be provided to school resource officers. Read more here.