Bill Would Let S.C. Teachers Carry Guns in Schools

A new bill in South Carolina would allow designated individuals to carry firearms or pepper spray in state schools, according to this story from wjbf.com.

The individuals would be classified as "school protection officers" and they might be teachers, administrators, or any other school employee that volunteers for the additional responsibilities. They would have to complete a new two-week training program at the Criminal Justice Academy.

Additionally, the story says that under the proposed bill, school employees with concealed carry permits would be allowed to carry at school, as long as the guns remain concealed or locked in a school firearms safe.

"Schools are gun-free zones now, and that makes them a target," said Rep. Phillip D. Lowe (R-Darlington and Florence) in the story. He's the main sponsor of the bill, and says that if someone intent on shooting people at a school knew that any teacher or school employee could potentially be armed, the school would become less of a target.

According to this story from NBC, Lowe prefilled a bill in 2012 that would have allowed any teacher with a CCW permit to carry at school, but the bill died because of concerns over lack of training.

The new bill includes a training course that would cover shoot/don't shoot scenarios, school safety protection training, rapid response training, identifying and containing potential and occurring threats training, defusing volatile situations and resolving conflict, communicating with law enforcement, and first responder first aid, the story says.

"I'ts a good idea to have guns in the school, for the teachers, to have the right teachers to have the guns," said James Davis, the parent of a middle school students in Columbia. "You've got to have protection. The crooks have got guns, so we're going to have to have them too. So I think it's a good idea. I hope it passes."

Each school district in the state will independently decide whether or not to have school protection officers.