I wanted to give Pastor Scott Craig some credit. His break with wingnut Gordon Howie suggested he might be a rational legislator. But as I listen to the audio of yesterday's Senate State Affairs committee hearing on House Bill 1087, the school gunslinger bill, I hear the revival-tent flim-flammer I was afraid District 33 would get.

Rep. Rev. Scott Craig

With a flag this big, who needs facts?

Rep. Rev. Craig launches the Old Time Gunfire Gospel Hour at the 7:00 mark in SDPB's recording. He says that many media outlets have "misrepresented repeatedly" his bill. He then proceeds to misrepresent facts.

In response to the evidence that draconian security measures like guns in schools raise anxiety and harm education, Rep. Rev. Craig asserts that our anxiety is already raised by sitting in a "defenseless" setting. No school in South Dakota is defenseless. Every school in South Dakota has security measures in place. Adding armed teachers and janitors to schools does not magically change schools from "defenseless" to "fully defended." Adding guns increases the daily risk of harm while providing only iffy defense against something that has never happened in South Dakota.

Rep. Rev. Craig says that President Obama wants increased arms in schools. Rep. Rev. Craig thus implies that President Obama supports HB 1087. Hogwash. Read the White House's plan. President Obama supports spending real money to hire more properly trained resource officers and counselors to implement evidence-based policies to make schools even safer (which is darned hard when schools are already the safest place our kids can be, as acknowledged by Sen. Craig Tieszen in his testimony right before Rep. Rev. Craig). Nowhere has President Obama expressed support for Rep. Rev. Craig's plan to let schools arm their teachers and janitors and vounteers.

Rep. Rev. Craig trots out the malarkey that the President and his wife sleep well at night knowing their children attend a well-armed school. That's a lie: Sidwell Friends has no armed guards. The Quakers running the Obama children's school probably don't cotton much to the violence inherent in the weapons carried by their Secret Service detail, but even they probably recognize that the President's family is a unique national security target from which we cannot extrapolate any policy implications for South Dakota school children.

Rep. Rev. Craig talks about how the Holy Land has armed teachers keeping its kids safe. Hooonnnk—wrong again! Israeli teachers don't carry guns, certainly not in their classrooms. And Israel has much stricter gun control laws than the U.S.

Rep. Rev. Craig asserts that those of us who recognize the harms of guns in schools need this bill, since this bill guarantees that local school districts can decide to keep guns out. The verbal contortions here are almost kinky. One does not guarantee the right to a gun-free educational environment by empowering local government to take that right away. Right now as a parent and teacher, if I move to another district in South Dakota, I can rest assured that state law keeps my new school district from putting my daughter and myself at daily risk of firearms accidents. HB 1087 takes away that guarantee and requires that I engage in new political battles to secure my daughter's safety in every community I may enter.

Rep. Rev. Craig's revival-tent performance yesterday showed the House Bill 1087 is based hype and horsehockey. Five out of nine members of Senate State Affairs were unable to see around the horsehockey Rep. Rev. Craig shoveled in favor of his bill. Let's hope the full Senate is less prone to pulpitial hypnosis and can vote down the school gunslinger bill.