Kansas Bill Would Hold Schools Liable if They Don't Allow Teachers to Have Guns in Classroom
Schools in Kansas could be held liable if they refuse to allow teachers to carry guns in school under newly proposed legislation in the state, ABC News reported.
At least nine states have provisions that allow teachers the option to conceal carry in school, but this legislation goes a step further.
Republicans lawmakers are pushing HB 2789 which would allow school districts to be deemed negligent if they don’t allow teachers to carry guns, and would ban insurers from penalizing school districts that do have armed teachers.
“Kansas law has allowed teachers to carry concealed guns since 2013 but school districts across the state have disallowed the practice after EMC Insurance Companies, the state’s primary school insurer, refused to provide coverage to schools with armed staff,” the Associated Press reported.
In the wake of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month, Rep. Blake Carpenter, who helped draft the bill, said urgent action must be taken before another school massacre.
“It is not if our kids will be killed,” he said during a hearing in front of the House Insurance Committee. “It is when will they be killed, and what are we doing to prevent it.”
Carpenter argued that in smaller districts where lower funding means school-resource officers aren’t hired, the bill would allow for the “next best thing,” AP reported.
Without armed teachers or guards on school grounds, “We make our kids soft targets,” said Kansas Sen. Ty Masterson.
According to ABC, the bill would make school boards in each Kansas school district responsible for determining which teachers who have concealed carry permits are eligible to carry a weapon on school grounds.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued that the bill doesn’t go far enough.
“I would like to see something that prohibits a school district from stopping (a teacher from carrying),” Kobach said, according to the Kansas City Star.
The bill’s opponents fear the bill will lead to the state mandating that teachers carry guns.
“It would certainly open the door for that conversation,” said Democratic Rep. Brett Parker. “The further we go down this rabbit hole, the more chance there is for even more obnoxious legislation moving forward.”
One of the state’s largest teachers unions also opposes the bill.
“We don’t want to be paid to carry guns,” said Mark Desetti, legislative director for the Kansas National Education Association. “We want to be paid to teach.”
If the bill passes the state’s House and Senate and is signed by the governor, it would go into effect January 2019.
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