Pattye Benson

Community Matters

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?


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.

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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.

    1. Ms. Christiansen, Moms Demand Action is unqualified to offer advice on this legislation regarding firearms or any other because they have zero expertise in this area. Unfounded emotionalism has ‘no’ place when discussing public policy.
      IF you are going to make statements calling these measures ‘dangerous’ you should at least be willing to offer some kind of proof.
      I submit to you that what is dangerous is wild speculative comments, such as yours, that distract attention from the problems we have in our courts and in holding violent individuals responsible. Moms Demand Action has NEVER criticized the failure of our courts to use the gun laws we have now NOR has MDA ever criticized ‘any’ judge or prosecutor who plea-bargained away the gun charges for violent criminals. ALL you do is advocate for stricter gun laws that take away the rights of ‘all’ Americans and leave them defenseless.
      You want an example of your silent tolerance of violations of rights of law abiding citizens? Take the Shaneen Allen case of the mother who was just inside the New Jersey line and was stopped by NJ State Police for a vehicle issue. She was in possession of a lawfully carried firearm with a PA License to Carry BUT because NJ does not ‘recognize’ PA law, as they should under the Constitution, she faced 12 years in prison. YOUR organization ‘cheered’ for her to be prosecuted and have her children taken away!!
      Senators Dinniman, Leach and Williams ‘all’ come from violence prone areas where violent criminals with firearms are rarely prosecuted. I notice you left this out of your comments.
      Ms. Christiansen, IF you want to see something ‘truly’ dangerous go sit in a courtroom and watch the violent criminals escape the hundreds of current gun laws and THEN we can talk!

      1. In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Stolfer is a fellow Vietnam Veteran and close personal friend. Beyond that, he established a group that is generally recognized as the authority on Pennsylvania’s Constitutional guarantees regarding the right to keep and bear arms. I am a life member of his pro citizen group (guns have no rights, people do)and can tell you that failure to prosecute gun crimes is so common it actually has a name. Simply insert “swallowing the gun” in your search engine, read the results carefully, and direct your ire towards District Attorney’s and jurists who plea bargain serious crimes committed with firearms away every day.

        1. I forgot to add, Ms. Christiansen, that your comments regarding the elimination of the Pennsylvania Instant Check System (PICS) is no more than the parroting of several groups who would lead you to believe that our group, or any group, is supporting the elimination of background checks. That, Ms. Christiansen, is absolutely false. Its not a “mis-statement”, or an “alternate view”. Its absolutely false. Even the most casual and cursory read of SB 224 and HB 763 will reveal that the effort is to eliminate PICS, which costs YOU and I nearly 7 million dollars a year, and to REPLACE it with the same system used in nearly 40 States. That is the National Instant Check System!

          Simply repeating the nonsense promoted by former Mayor Bloomberg (who, not surprisingly has an army of armed body guards)does not make the statement any more true. I encourage you to carefully look at any bills you take exception to.

  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

    1. Well said, sir. Please read my post. I take exception to the bill, but for other reasons than most of the anti gunners do. Hope you get a chance to read it, and post a comment with your thoughts.

  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?

  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.

    1. So you would draw the line for the constitution and the exercise of freedom for others? A Marine officer who does not know and understand the Bill of Rights? I am a former Marine non-commissioned officer and I am shocked that you have chosen to take a position where ‘your’ prejudices impact the freedoms of others!
      As for misconduct with firearms, how many police officers have shot themselves in schools with careless firearm handling and left handguns in bathrooms?! Is ‘that’ your criteria because IF it is then ethically you must apply it equally to all.
      The facts are that law-abiding citizens are safer with firearms than even police and this fact can be found on the Bureau of Justice Statistics website in report after report.
      There are an awful lot of ‘white crosses’ that are a testament to the cost of freedom and the 2nd Amendment and ‘Shall NOT Be Infringed’ is inseparably intertwined within our Constitution. THAT is what is at stake here!

  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.

  6. SB 383 needs some serious tweaking, but not for the reasons that the Soros and Bloomberg funded snowflakes tell us. Confidentiality has been addressed correctly in the latest printer’s number, but there is far too much discretion left to the PA State Police. Training is always a good thing, and if the Legislature wants our teachers who elect to quietly carry a concealed firearm to be trained, then be specific as to which training is acceptable. Leaving that decision in the hands of non elected officials is foolhardy.

    So far as accidental discharges, students ripping a gun from a teacher’s hands, and all of the other “coulda-shoulda-woulda” crippling fears expressed by the uber left, please, child.

  7. I have followed 2nd Amendment and self-defense issues for over 40 years. The arguments against citizens (this includes teachers) utilize the same emotional fear mongering we have seen populate the debate every time an issue like this comes up.
    Many states allow teachers ‘and’ citizens to carry firearms around students and on campus at elementary, secondary and, especially, colleges with NO problems.
    I find the lack of personal accountability of people who denigrate the right of fellow citizens to choose to exercise their right to self-defense in ‘not’ researching these issues ‘before’ typing out their incoherent babble to be the height of hypocrisy.
    The facts are that people who are determined to commit harm will do so no matter the laws and that the ‘only’ thing that can stop a bad person is a good person with a firearm. This is NOT conjecture but a fact and the articles and circumstances are out there showing the crimes stopped by good citizens with firearms.
    Personal political agendas have NO place when imposing them on others puts them at risk of being defenseless when death comes calling and that is the very reason why the Bill of Rights exists since our founding fathers understood that the vicissitudes of public opinion can often be manipulated by an unscrupulous media and corrupt politicians.

  8. Here’s hoping that if this bill were to become law that the TE school board would not establish policy to permit employees to carry weapons into our schools.

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