Maine Senate Turns Down Guns in Schools Plan

| by Dabney Bailey
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The Maine Senate rejected a bill this week that would have allowed qualified public school employees to carry a firearm on the job. Both the Senate and the House rejected the bill – the Senate turned it down with a 19-14 vote, and another thumbs down from the House killed the bill.

If the bill had passed, it would have allowed school administrators to establish rules and procedures detailing how employees could carry concealed guns into schools. It would have also required participants to complete crisis intervention and hostage training scenarios.

Sen. Gary Plummer (R), who supported the bill, argued guns in schools might have prevented the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy.

“I believe [the principal at Sandy Hook] could have taken [Adam Lanza] out and thus saved the lives of the staff and those children," Plummer said. "We will never know for sure if I am correct about this, but we do know for certain, without a gun, [the principal] was unable to stop [Lanza] from carrying out his terrible plan."

Sen. Stan Gerzofsky disagreed with his colleague, stating, "There's nothing here that will enhance safety. I think it will do the opposite."

This is the end of the bill, but it might not be the end of guns in schools in Maine. Lawmakers are considering new legislation that would allow school employees to enter into an agreement with law enforcement to promote school employees as temporary police officers. Educators would have to be trained at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

This approach is a double-edged blade. On the one hand, it would be much more difficult and time-consuming for educators to earn the privilege of carrying a gun. On the other hand, educator who do go through training would be much more qualified than educators would have been under the defeated bill. Plus, the local law enforcement would be on board with everything, so it would be much less likely that they would accidentally shoot a gun-wielding educator.

Source: SF Gate