Should teachers carry guns to school? PA Senate Bill 383 could make it a reality

Our PA State Senator Andy Dinniman, Minority Chair of the state Senate’s education committee is set to vote on Senate Bill 383 this morning.   As the issue of school safety stemming from school shootings continues, some lawmakers are looking at offensive measures to help protect students. Labeled as “providing for protection and defense of students”, Senate Bill 383 would allow school personnel to carry loaded weapons in public schools.

Anyone that has followed Community Matters over the years knows how I feel about guns and gun control so please know my position is biased against Senate Bill 383.  The argument is that if teachers were allowed to carry guns in the classrooms that they have a better chance of protecting students and themselves.  Opposing view, including my own, would suggest that students will be afraid knowing that their teachers are carrying concealed weapons and may actually be distracted by the idea.

School should be a safe place and is it not possible that providing a teacher with a gun will make students afraid of going to school? Is arming teachers the answer to school safety? According to PA State Senator Donald White (R-41), the sponsor of Senate Bill 383, he says it would provide another option to improve the safety and security of children, teachers and school staff.

Should anyone who is trained, licensed and meets all the requirements to carry a gun be allowed to carry one – including teachers in our public schools?   I would need concrete evidence to convince me that arming our public school teachers is going to increase student safety.  Rather than keeping our students safer, isn’t it possible that bringing loaded guns into the classrooms can actually increase the risk to our children?

Should Senate Bill 383 move forward and eventually become law, it would allow local school districts to establish policy allowing personnel who have a concealed-carry permit to bring guns to school.

I would be very curious what parents of school-age children think of this proposed legislation. Where will the TE School Board stand on Senate Bill 383 — with four seats on the school board on the November ballot, it may be important to know the  candidate’s views on “guns in the classroom”.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, we saw an immediate reaction across the country regarding school safety. The Newtown, CT shooting of innocent children impacted school district’s safety policies. In TE, we saw the implementation of the District-wide school fencing project. Will “guns in the classroom” be similar — hire a “safety consultant” to make certain of the intended outcome?

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To contact PA Senator Andy Dinniman regarding Bill 383, Office: One North Church, West Chester, PA Phone 610-692-2112, Mon – Fri: 8:30 AM – 5 PM.

6 Comments

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  1. Thank you Pattye for highlighting SB 383, the arm our teachers bill.
    Moms Demand Action, a nonpartisan gun safety organization also is urging Senator Dinniman and the entire Senate Education Committee to vote NO on this dangerous measure. If passed, SB 383 will result in a crazy quilt of armed personnel across our school districts. Teachers and personnel may bring their guns to school in one district, while the children in a neighboring district will be protected by more reasoned security measures. Rather than arming our educators, shouldn’t we step back and keep firearms away from those who shouldn’t have them in the first place? Common sense measures like universal background checks will better protect all our children than arming their educators. Ironically, those who push SB 383, are at the same time pushing SB 224 and HB 763, companion bills that will eliminate Pennsylvania’s instant background check system. The agenda is clear. It isn’t about school safety; it is about eliminating any reasonable regulation on who may obtain a firearm and where it is carried. Pennsylvanians, particularly our Pennsylvanian school children deserve better. Tell Senator Dinniman that you oppose arming our teachers. Thank him when he votes NO on SB 383.

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  2. I applaud Sen. Dinniman for setting forth his concerns and soliciting comment. There is no thinking – feeling individual who is not concerned about the welfare of the students in our community.

    One approach which is widely held is to make schools a ‘Gun Free Zone’ and attempt to insure the safety of the students by banning all guns within school property. With all the effectiveness of outlawing drug use this approach has been a tragic failure.

    When a deranged individual chooses to do violence to others, in the vast majority of cases, the targets chosen have been ‘Gun Free Zones’. They don’t decide to shoot up the local gun club. Why? Because if no one else has a weapon, the perpetrator has the greatest amount of power and time to execute their terrible act. Almost all of the mass shootings in recent years have been in ‘Gun Free Zones’. As an approach to safety for our children, ‘Gun Free Zones’ have failed totally.

    Conversely, today there are 7 states which authorize teachers to carry firearms on school grounds. The teachers are required to go through proper training and maintain their skill level. As of today, there have been NO incidents in any of the states where concealed carry is authorized.

    Senator, no one can guarantee anything in the future. We can only look at what has worked in the past and replicate those procedures. Concealed Carry, by trained volunteer school personnel is working. I would encourage you to put the safety of our children first and vote for this bill.

    Dr. A

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  3. I recall reading an article after a 2012 incident on the street outside the Empire State Building. A disturbed man had shot a co-worker; police arrived and exchanged fire with him, and 9 by-standers were wounded by shots from the police. If even the police, who are trained to remain cool under pressure, can end up shooting the wrong people, how can we expect civilians to perform any better?

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  4. One word. No. Stupidest thing I have ever heard. I am former Marine Corps officer qualified on the 45 pistol and the M16 and I SHOULD NOT carry a weapon in class…don’t the legislators have better things to do …like figuring out how to fund education?????
    And from the information that I have seen there was an elementary school teacher in one of these carry states that shot herself in the bathroom. This is not a good idea.

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  5. NO, I believe guns do not belong in schools.
    First, the use of firearms should be left to the experts such as officers, swat teams and the military.
    Second, the teachers have the primary role of teaching our children not bringing guns to school.
    Third, the risks of having personnel carry weapons would outweigh any benefit as the possibility of accidental use or non intended use is too high.
    Leave safety and protection to the expert Tredyffrin police department.

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