Indiana is leading the charge in the guns-in-schools debate as the Indiana House considers passing a bill that would mandate at least one armed employee in each of Indiana's public schools.
Unlike a similar bill that passed in South Dakota, which sets aside funding to provide optional firearm training for educators who choose to arm themselves, Indiana would make armed personnel a necessity. That would entail at least one armed guard for each of the 1,915 public schools in Indiana.
Gun rights advocates and members of the National Rifle Association have reason to get excited about the bill. It aligns perfectly with the NRA’s controversial School Shield program and, if passed, it would be the first bill of its kind in the nation.
Unfortunately for supporters of the Second Amendment, this bill has a tough road ahead of itself. Glenda Ritz, a Democrat and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, opposes the bill.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence also opposes the bill, but not because he doesn’t want to see guns in schools. The Republican governor stated, "I always believe that decisions in our local schools are best made at the local level, and I have no objection to allowing schools across Indiana to have a better opportunity to have an armed school resource officer or an armed school protection officer."
Ritz agreed with Pence: “I am for those types of decisions being made at the local level, at the school district level.”
If it just so happened that all 1,915 schools individually chose to have armed security guards, Gov. Pence told reporters, "We'll find the resources to make sure that local schools have the funding that they need."
The bill does have the Senate and the Indiana Department of Education (IDE) in its corner, at least. The Senate has already approved the bill and the IDE performed a study in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings that found that allowing teachers to carry weapons and act as reserve security officers would improve school safety without placing a strain on public resources.
All things considered, this bill may very well be on its way to being a landmark victory for gun rights advocates. The people who oppose the bill aren’t against guns in schools, but in how the government enforces gun policy at a state and local level. With so many pro-gun legislators in Indiana, this bill (or another bill that's much like it) could soon become law.