The Texas Senate Education Committee is set to debate a set of bills that would provide firearm training for some public school teachers.
Republican Senator Dan Patrick, who also serves on the Senate Education Committee, proposed the changes. He hopes to allocate $9.3 million towards improving the public school system. One of the proposted changes involves funding armed guards in schools.
The latest version of the bill allows for school organizations to collect private donations to fund firearm training for teachers. If these funds are insufficient, the bill allows the state to allocate up to $1 million to supplement the program.
Placing armed guards in schools has recently become a hot button issue in the national gun control debate. Just days ago, the National Rifle Association unveiled its highly controversial School Shield plan, which advises politicians and school organizations to allocate funds for armed guards. The NRA also promotes the idea of teachers and principals carrying firearms on the job.
If this bill becomes law, Texas could act as a litmus test for the efficacy of armed guards in schools. Research on preventing gun violence in schools is relatively scarce at the moment, so Texas could give gun control advocates or gun rights advocates more ammunition in the controversy, depending on how successful the program is.
Coincidentally, far to the northeast, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has just signed into law game-changing legislation that places severe restrictions on gun rights. Both Texas and Connecticut legislators hope to protect school children against gun violence, but they’ve each chosen diametrically opposed strategies. Months from now, when the American public finally has enough data to compare the two states, which technique will prove to be effective: bringing more guns into schools, or banning as many guns as possible?