Monday Apr 08, 201304:13 PM GMT
South Dakota law will allow guns in classrooms
Fri Mar 8, 2013 9:0PM
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Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota on Friday signed into law a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom.


While some other states have provisions in their gun laws that make it possible for teachers to be armed, South Dakota is believed to be the first state to pass a law that specifically allows teachers to carry firearms.


About two dozen states have proposed similar bills since the shootings in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., but all of them have stalled.


Supporters say that the measure signed by Mr. Daugaard, a Republican, is important in a rural state like South Dakota, where some schools are many miles away from emergency responders.


Opponents, which have included the state school board association and teachers association, say this is a rushed measure that does not make schools safer.


The law says that school districts may choose to allow a school employee, hired security officer or volunteer to serve as a “sentinel” who can carry a firearm in the school. The law does not require school districts to do this.


Mr. Daugaard said he was comfortable with the law because it gave school districts the right to choose whether they wanted armed individuals in schools, and that those who were armed would have to undergo firearms training similar to what law enforcement officers received.


“I think it does provide the same safety precautions that a citizen expects when a law enforcement officer enters onto a premises,” Mr. Daugaard said in an interview. But he added that he did not think that many school districts would end up taking advantage of the measure. NY Times


Discussion of gun control and gun rights has surged in the United States since a gunman shot dead 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school in December, 20 of them first-graders. Reuters


More than a third of the states already allow teachers and other adults to carry guns to school. In most cases, all you need is the equivalent of a note from the principal — you usually don't even need law enforcement approval. NBC News


The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association have both campaigned against such measures, but not all local school administrators share their position. NBC News


Among the states identified in the piece are Alabama, Texas, Kentucky and Oregon. The laws don't say that the teachers have to give a reason why they would want to bring a gun to school either. Loop 21


There are over 20 states that also allow individual colleges or universities to decide whether to ban or allow concealed weapons on campus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states also allow students to carry concealed weapons. Reuters


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