Bill would eliminate option for staff to have concealed weapons on-campus

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A bill making its way through California’s legislature aims to completely get guns off of school campuses.

Right now, guns aren’t allowed on school campuses, unless a school district authorizes select staff members to carry concealed weapons. They would have to be concealed carry permit holders. However, AB 424, authored by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, would eliminate that option for districts.

The Kingsburg Joint Union High School District voted to allow five staff members to do this in April. The staff members chosen are vetted in a multi-step process.

For Randy Morris, the district’s superintendent, having staff members with concealed weapons is a matter of ensuring student safety.

“If our students or staff are in grave danger on-campus, this gives us an opportunity to respond to deadly force with deadly force,” he said.

Morris believes if AB 424 passes, it would lessen local control for districts.

“In the big picture, it’s about local control and being able to entrust elected officials in communities to make the best decisions for their communities,” he said.

So far, the bill has passed a public safety hearing vote. Critics of the bill say those carrying concealed weapons are vetted, highly trained and don’t bring the violence to schools.

Gun control supporters say that’s not good enough, saying any gun on-campus could complicate things.

“The shooter could be dressed up like a security guard for all they know,” said Richard Martinez, member of Everytown for Gun Safety. “More guns in an emergency situation doesn’t make law enforcement’s job any easier.”

Jon Davis supports school staff having concealed weapons on-campus. He works for Good2Go Firearms, a gun store in Fresno, and is in the process of getting his concealed carry permit.

“If (people are) properly trained and go through the proper steps, fewer accidents will happen,” Davis said.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Appropriations. After that, it would go on the assembly floor, where it would need a majority vote to pass.

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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