Friday, January 17, 2020
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Worthless gun-school bills introduced in Maryland

Hoping to protect schoolchildren from crazed shooters with machine guns and similar threats to their lives, Maryland state Delegate Mike McDermott has introduced two pieces of legislation in Annapolis that would increase the number of guns in Maryland schools, Delmarva Now reports.

One bill, known as the “Guardian Bill,” would give school boards and superintendents the option to designate teachers, staff members or administrators who are eligible for a concealed carry permit to bring guns onto school grounds. It would not require any training, though that decision could be left up to local boards of education. It would also not require the guns these educators carry to be locked up.

The other bill, which doesn’t have a fancy name, would provide funds for off-duty or retired police officers to patrol school campuses during times when school resource officers would not be able to do so. These individuals would already be certified by the Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act to carry weapons on school grounds; the new bill would just pay for their services.

Every school administrator, board spokesperson, and parent quoted in the article was opposed to the new legislation, and it’s very difficult for me to provide an argument for the bills.

“While citizen use of firearms is an important right, I believe that increasing the number of weapons on school property will only increase the number of children, staff, families, and visitors killed or maimed across America, and would increase the likelihood of something horrible happening here,” the paper quoted Wicomico County Schools Superintendent John Fredericksen as saying.

And since superintendents like Dr Fredericksen would be the ones deciding who can bring weapons onto school property, I have to assume they would consult with local police agencies, which are having a hard enough time these days finding and training good police officers for other police duties in Maryland communities.

It’s possible that training new police officers and turning them into school resource officers as soon as they get the needed training could take a while, since this long-term plan would mean adding more than a thousand resource officers to Maryland’s police forces. Mr McDermott’s solution would get armed personnel in the schools in a much shorter time.

I’m just not sure that’s really the objective, though, although it is the argument he himself made for introducing the legislation.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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