A bill to allow trained school administrators to carry guns gets its first hearing but will face more scrutiny from a House committee before a vote is taken.
Sponsor Rep. Paul Battles (R-Cartersville) calls it a school safety bill rather than a gun bill saying it would allow another line of defense for those systems than can’t afford resource officers.
Under the measure, local school boards could designate an administrator or principal to undergo the same extensive training as police officers and carry a firearm on campus once they’ve been certified.
“This is an option that would not require any school system in the state of Georgia to actually follow through on this,” he says. “It only gives them the option to consider this as an alternative.”
But Rep. Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta) worries about the liability for schools.
“If a person to whom we gave this authority where to kill some of our kids... that could happen under this and that worries me,” he told fellow committee members.
Two members of One Million Moms for Gun Control, a group that formed after the Newtown massacre, shared their concerns at the hearing.
“We appreciate the spirit but we also implore you not to put our school administrators, teachers, and personnel in the front lines,” says Piyali Cole with the Atlanta Chapter.
A lobbyist for the Georgia School Boards Association told the committee the organization is remaining neutral on the measure.
Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), who chairs the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, announced that more details are needed on the legislation before a vote can be taken.
He assigned a subcommittee to look at issues including liability, the level of training, whether it would be voluntary for the administrators, as well as whether they would carry open or concealed.
Powell says a vote is expected on the measure next week.