Much of the debate that arose following the February mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, centered around the best way to make schools safer and prevent future tragedies.
Of course, the anti-gun left demanded overly broad weapons bans and stricter gun control, but President Donald Trump and other pro-Second Amendment advocates suggested trained staff and teachers be allowed to carry concealed firearms in schools to provide a first line of defense for students under attack.
A school board in northern Georgia appears to have sided with the president on this issue. WSB-TV reported that the Fannin County School Board held a vote Thursday night on a proposal they have been considering since April to allow trained staff and teacher volunteers to carry firearms on campus.
“I would probably say, they need guns, just in case, you know? You have to protect yourself, but you have to protect those children,” said Toni Wallace, a parent of a student in the county. “You can put your bars in the door and your glass bubbles up and it could happen.”
“I really think they need to have them just in case. Hopefully they won’t need them,” Wallace added.
The policy, known as GAMB and titled Possession of Weapons by Employees, would permit school employees who volunteered for training and were approved by the Board of Education and County Sheriff to carry a firearm on school property.
The policy requires that volunteers already possess a license by the state to carry a firearm and undergo an annual criminal background check.
Furthermore, they must undergo special training that will focus on judgement, use of a handgun and long gun, marksmanship and relevant laws in the state. The permitted firearms must also be kept holstered on the body — not in a bag or purse — or stored in a lockbox that cannot be easily accessed by students.
According to WAGA, the proposal was passed by the Fannin County School Board unanimously. The school board oversees five schools within the county, including the large campus of Fannin High School, and already has a school resource officer assigned to each location.
Those resource officers will soon be supplemented by a number of trained staff and teachers carrying concealed weapons of their own to help protect students in the unlikely event a school shooting occurs.
“I have five grandchildren and it makes me feel better to know we’re not having to wait on law enforcement to get here,” said county resident Jack Taylor. “Although they do a wonderful job, they’re not everywhere at the same time, they can’t be.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is thrilled at the passage of the new policy, as some people are flatly opposed to the idea of more guns in schools, even if in the hands of permitted and trained individuals.
“To me, more firearms into the school is just going to create a potential for more danger to my child,” said parent Dr. Kyle Raque.
But both the superintendent and county sheriff are on board with the plan. In a letter to the community issued in April, the superintendent wrote, “We do not wait for emergency professionals but instead take immediate action during fires, injuries, and heart attacks; likewise, we should never have to wait for outside help to begin a swift and appropriate response to an attack on our school community.”
Indeed, just as schools routinely keep fire extinguishers, tourniquets and other basic medical supplies on hand in case of an emergency, so too will these schools keep firearms on the premises as an appropriate tool to use in the event it unfortunately proves necessary.
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