Two Middle Georgia school leaders oppose gun bill

Two school leaders oppose gun bill

jmink@macon.comApril 23, 2014 

The chiefs of two midstate school systems oppose a new law that gives school boards the leeway to allow guns on school property.

The superintendents of Bibb and Houston County schools say they will not recommend that their school boards authorize civilians to carry weapons on campus. Only campus police are now authorized to carry guns on school grounds.

“I’m not for carrying guns in schools. There are too many negative things that can happen,” Houston County Superintendent Robin Hines said Wednesday. “A school is not the place to put guns in the hands of people who have not been trained in those situations.”

Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 60 into law Wednesday, allowing people with concealed carry permits to take guns into places ranging from bars to school zones. The law goes into effect July 1.

While Steve Smith, Bibb County’s interim school superintendent, said he supports the right to bear arms, he does not believe guns have a place on school property unless campus police officers are carrying them.

“I don’t have any plans to recommend we let anybody carry weapons” who are not trained police officers, he said.

While local school boards are not required to adopt the new gun policy, they can authorize certain employees to carry weapons on school grounds. Those workers must undergo weapons training, and they must carry an approved type and quantity of weapons and ammunition. The law prohibits school boards from granting gun permission to anyone who might have mental or emotional instabilities, and the person must have a concealed carry permit and undergo a background check.

Also, the authorized workers must keep their weapons on them -- not in bags or purses -- or in a lock box.

Since the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, several groups have promoted the carrying of weapons on campuses, claiming that armed teachers or principals could prevent such massacres.

Smith rejects that notion, saying there would be a risk of misuse or of guns being stolen from teachers.

While people can argue that armed teachers would have made a difference in specific school shootings, “the positives of not having guns far outweigh the negatives that might occur” if teachers are not armed, Smith said.

“The last thing a teacher needs is a gun,” Smith said. “I’ve taught in a classroom, and the last thing I needed was a gun close to me.”

To contact writer Jenna Mink, call 744-4331.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service