An Alabama bill seeking to arm teachers and staff with guns was passed earlier this week despite being vetoed twice by the state’s governor.
The measure – officially termed ‘House Bill 116’ – was created by lawmakers in Franklin County following the mass shooting at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Please allow us to decide how best to secure our schools and protect our children,” said the bill, which was sent to Gov. Robert Bentley’s desk in April.
Overall, the measure will arm teachers and staff who volunteer for the program and receive adequate training under the direction of local officers.
Gary Williams, Superintendent of Schools for Franklin County, argued the measure was necessary due chiefly to the school district’s remote location. Of the seven public schools in rural northwest Franklin County, none are closer than 20 or 30 minutes away from first responders.
Overall, the state’s House and Senate agreed with Williams and passed the bill – albeit with significant help from a republican supermajority.
However, Gov. Bentley promptly vetoed the bill, arguing additional training guidelines needed to be enacted. He also expressed a preference for hiring school resource officers – or sworn law enforcement personnel.
“While I am confident that the sheriff or chief of police is perfectly able to supervise the volunteer force, I believe that the Legislature should provide more specific and more extensive training requirements,” Bentley wrote in his initial veto letter.
After lawmakers snuffed Bentley’s veto – sending a revised version of the bill back to him a short while later – the governor responded once again.
With another veto.
The back-and-forth game of paperwork hot potato officially ended Monday, when the state legislature overrode the governor’s decision.
The bill to arm teachers in Franklin County will now go into effect without the governor’s signature.