In blog-on-blog violence Friday, Steve Sibson and Pat Powers traded irrational insults. Sibby interprets the Constitution with a fervent detachment from reality. But Powers misrepresents the scope of South Dakota's new school gunslinger law. Read Powers's headline:
Nice Try Sibby. The School Sentinel bill does not allow Kindergarten teachers to open carry on their hip in class.
...and these two passages:
While Sibby may wish it allows Kindergarten teachers to open carry on their hips, the School Sentinel bill does not have anything to do with the 2nd amendment.
...If Sibby was expecting that it was a second amendment issue providing open carry in the schools, he should take it up with the authors of the measure, and those voting on it. Because that’s not what was passed by the legislature [Pat Powers, "Nice Try Sibby...," Dakota War College, 2013.03.15].
Now read the text of the school gunslinger bill, HB 1087, very carefully. It authorizes schools to "create, establish, and supervise the arming of school employees, hired security personnel, or volunteers" as they see fit. Local law enforcement must approve any local school gunslinger plan, and school gunslingers must receive training from the same state commission that certifies police to carry firearms. However, HB 1087 does not specify how weapons shall be holstered in the schools. A school board could thus vote to have its teachers carry firearms in visible holsters.
In other words, the school gunslinger bill does allow kindergarten teachers to open carry on their hip in class.
Senator Tim Begalka admits as much:
In theory, the school sentinels law is distinct in that it doesn't require firearms in schools to be concealed. But state Sen. Tim Begalka, a sponsor of the legislation, said school districts have the discretion to require guns are concealed, and he expects they will.
"It could be either way, but it was pretty much understood that they would be concealed," Begalka said [J.B. Wogan, "Advancing the Debate: Should Teachers Carry Guns?" Governing: The States and Localities, 2013.03.13].
You can blow all the smoke you want about expecting and pretty much understanding, but if some NRA-harassed school board decides to let teachers carry guns on their hips, the authorizing clauses of HB 1087 won't stop them. If blogger Powers and Senator Begalka say otherwise, it must be because the practical policies permitted under this over-the-top law make them squeamish.