Some students are calling for tougher gun-control laws after escaping last week’s horrific massacre in Parkland, Florida, but another school-shooting survivor is going in a different direction.
Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who attended Columbine High School at the time of the 1999 mass shooting, has again introduced legislation to remove limitations on conceal carry in K-12 schools.
Under state law, conceal-carry permit holders may bring firearms onto school property, but must keep them locked inside their vehicles.
Washington Times reports that Mr. Neville, who has introduced the bill annually since he was elected in 2014, said the current law “creates a so-called gun free zone in every K-12 public school.”
“This act would allow every law-abiding citizens who holds a concealed carry permit, issued from their chief law-enforcement officer, the right to carry concealed in order to defend themselves and most importantly our children from the worst-case scenarios,” Mr. Neville said in a statement.
The Republican lawmaker has argued that more of his classmates would have survived the attack if some faculty had been armed. Twelve students and one teacher were killed by two teen gunmen at the high school in Littleton, Colorado.
“As a former Columbine student who was a sophomore during the shootings on April 20, 1999, I will do everything in my power to prevent Colorado families from enduring the hardships my classmates and I faced that day,” Mr. Neville said. “Time and time again we point to the one common theme with mass shootings, they occur in gun-free zones.”
A hearing on the bill, which stands little chance of passage in the Democrat-controlled House, is slated for Tuesday.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers across the country are considering bills that would increase the presence of guns in schools, with a number of states debating proposals that would expand the right of gun owners to carry firearms on college campuses.
In addition to Colorado, North Dakota and Wyoming lawmakers are pushing legislation that would peel back limits on bringing firearms to K-12 schools as well, reports US News.
“We would like schools to have more options for protection,” says North Dakota Rep. Dwight Kiefert, a Republican sponsor of legislation that would allow holders of concealed weapons licenses to bring firearms to school campuses if they receive the school’s permission.
The reason it’s necessary is we have rural schools that are 30 miles away from law enforcement, so we are trying to address the response time [to a potential shooting]. Because by the time law enforcement gets there, it won’t be a rescue anymore,” he says.
While the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting reinvigorated the push to put more guns in schools, the debate over whether arming teachers would make schools safer has raged since the 1999 Columbine High School shooting.
The sponsor of a new Colorado bill that would allow conceal carry permit holders to bring weapons to public schools is a former Columbine student who was present at the high school the day of the shooting.
“As was the case in 1999, criminals aren’t deterred by a flashy sign on the door,” Rep. Patrick Neville, a Republican, said in a statement announcing the bill’s introduction Monday. “The only thing that is going to stop murderers intent on doing harm is to give good people the legal authority to carry a gun to protect themselves and our children.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
February 19th, 2018