Rep. Rev. Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City) has filed his guns-in-schools bill. House Bill 1087 is a mealy-mouthed local-control masquerade which opens the door for gun nuts to bully their local school boards into affirming their gun worship at the expense of our children.
Section 1 of HB 1087 authorizes local school boards to arm any employee, security officer, or volunteer in its buildings. Section 1 gives school boards "sole discretion" in creating free-fire zones. The Legislature demands no standards for training. HB 1087 requires no assessment of either the threats of "violent attack by any terrorist, criminal, deranged person, or other perpetrator of deadly force" that HB 1087 imagines or the real and immediate dangers of bringing loaded firearms into the school building. HB 1087 neither requires nor even suggests minimal safety standards for carrying and storing firearms and ammunition on school grounds. I'm not even sure this bill says a school board can't hand out weapons to students. And up in Rep. Betty Olson's neck of the woods (yes, she's a sponsor), I'm not sure the school board wouldn't do that.
Section 2 is a useless nod in the direction of safety and oversight. It says that, before implemented any guns-in-schools policy, a school board must "interface" with local law enforcement. I'm not even sure "interface" is a legislatively defined verb. But "interface" fails to specify that the school board provide any details or seek any advice about its janitor-gunslinger plan to the police. "Interface" as written could mean nothing more than the school board sends the sheriff donuts.
Section 2 does say that "Any material changes in the school sentinel program's personnel or protocols shall be reported to such law enforcement agency forthwith." (Forthwith? Seriously? Who wrote this bill?) But notice that, in another example of sloppy passive-voice writing, HB 1087 doesn't say who has to report those changes. The school board? The principal? The people packing heat? The local press? The Madville Times? This bill leaves local law enforcement hanging. HB 1087 leaves the local police with no guarantee that they will know who's packing heat in the school.
Good night—if we're going to do something as drastic as terrifying our children by surrounding them with cranky armed teachers (I'm scary enough just when I shout; imagine admitting to me you didn't do your homework while I polish my revolver at my desk), we should at least write an airtight bill with crystal-clear reporting requirements.
Section 3 at least provides a conscience clause, allowing me to opt-out of any teacher-gunslinger plan Spearfish might dream up (and they'd better not!). But HB 1087 ignores the fact that no educator, no adult of good conscience should carry a gun in school.
Send me the committee schedule, LRC. I may have to take a personal day and come to Pierre to tell you guys why this bill stinks.