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Rep. Rev Scott Flunks Bill Writing with School Gunslinger Bill

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.


  1. Sandra Waltman 2013.01.18

    The House Education bill will debate the bill next Wednesday. Should be interesting.

  2. vikingobsessed 2013.01.18

    I cannot believe that he represents my district. All he had to do was have an "R" after his name and he was questions asked. We had a perfectly nice lady from the Democratic party that sounded as though she had common sense. Never stood a chance.

  3. Steve Sibson 2013.01.18

    So instead of teaching kids the Second Amendment, you teachers are telling kids to be scared? Indoctrinating emotions instead of teaching facts is why the level of education is dropped while costs have sky-rocketed. It does not seem some kids, trained with video games, are scared to walk into a gun-free zone and have their way.

  4. larry kurtz 2013.01.18

    It is so terrifying to know that Rapid City could send a guy like this to Pierre.

  5. bret clanton 2013.01.18

    " I am not even sure this bill says a school board can not hand out weapons to students. And up in Betty Olson's neck of the woods (yes she is a sponsor), I am not sure the school board would not do that." Ummm wowwww.

  6. bret clanton 2013.01.18

    My school lesson of the day that I recieved from Cory is to look up these words. Stereotype, prejudice, pre-judgement, discrimination, bias and maybe even narcissism?

  7. Dana P. 2013.01.18

    what the? I just read through that and it is a head shaker! Cory - With the exception of Betty Olson's parcels, do you think that other school boards around the state will show extreme displeasure for this bill?

    Also, the words "create, establish, and supervise" are in this bill. Now come on, just who will be doing that? (I know, it says the school board) In a normal workaday business setting that has guns - like, let's say, oh I dunno, military or law enforcement - people that are minding THAT fort are highly trained firearms instructors that establish instruction/lesson plans on shooting accuracy, weapon retention, accountability, lecturing, and constant research on weapons and liability and how it applies to the folks that are carrying those weapons. And that's a good thing! When it comes to guns, those are the folks that I want "creating, establishing, and supervising" a weapons program. The school board? They are good folks, I'm sure, but shouldn't they be focused on

    And yes, I would think law enforcement would have some big problems with this bill and how it leaves them in the dark...

    I'm a-thinkin' someone's pilot light has done blowed!

  8. bret clanton 2013.01.18

    I will be sure and inform the proper people your opinion of them......

  9. bret clanton 2013.01.18

    I think if you would look at the other prime sponsor law enforcement is represented.

  10. owen reitzel 2013.01.18

    if it'd be on a Friday I'd be with you Cory. This has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment.
    Again teachers teachers not become ploice officers. By the way terachers are not teaching fear. The NRA is doing that crap.

  11. bret clanton 2013.01.18

    And just for your information I do not believe Rep. Olson had any input on the writing of this bill. And Dana P. I would suggest you go to Pierre and testify but I must warn you that they require that you use your full and real name......

  12. Steve Sibson 2013.01.18

    "By the way terachers are not teaching fear."

    Cory has already said he scares kids. The 10 year old girl on the front page of the Plankinton paper last week proudly showing the deer she shot on a mentored hunt with her dad was far from being scared of guns. Cory has admitted that he is not qualified to teach and now admits he scares kids. And he thinks we deserve to give him a raise?

    "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"

    That is a very distrubing thought. Get a grip Cory. Just because you are not capable of exercising the Second Amendment does not mean that your fellow teachers should be denied their Second Amendment rights. And if anybody uses their firearm in an agressive matter such as you invision yourself doing, should have those rights removed...immediately. Cory, why don't you volunteer to be put on the FBI's "do not sell" list?

  13. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.18

    These new attempts at laws are popping up all over the place. There is no proof that arming teachers gives more protection to the students and nobody wants to answer the hard questions that need to be answered before that happens.
    1. Where will the money come from to employment this law.
    2. Will the certification be the same as those in law enforcement that have to do this for a living? If not it should. I'm not even sure if someone packing a gun can do the job without being both fully trained by the state and insured.
    3. How much will liability insurance cost. In almost all cases the schools liability insurance will not cover anything but teacher liability while teaching, activities, bus related, and sexual lawsuits that might arise. This would have to be a separate policy if it can be had at all and would be dependent on psychological evaluations done costing even more money.
    4. Caliber of weapon used? Should it be able to go through a certain kind of wall or not? What kind of bullet can be fired for the least amount of collateral damage? Will the walls in the school absorb contact of a high caliber gun or will they be so hard that they redirect the bullet in a different direction? With a high caliber gun of any kind it is possible for a bullet to go through more then one wall and still do damage to whatever it hits.

    There are many more but you get the point. I'm all in favor of law officers in schools but just to insure them would be expensive. The cheapest rate I found was $13 a student for each officer. So that would be 1000 students times $13 for one officer. Two would set you back $26,000 for some real protection. I don't think you could get anyone to do the job for less then fifty thousand a year. But then that's just my opinion.

    Here is a link that is a good read just because it is something like Scott Craig is trying to do.

    The Pennsylvania State Education Association says

    “The whole idea that educators in an armed confrontation can put down books and pick up guns is not only wrong-headed, it‘s dangerous,” Keever said. “There‘s real serious questions about how first responders arriving at the scene of a confrontation would be able to identify who‘s a shooter and who‘s an educator.”

    The Blindman

  14. WayneB 2013.01.18

    " I am not even sure this bill says a school board can not hand out weapons to students."

    Thankfully you don't need to worry about that - our federal government has deemed you need to be 18 to own/possess a firearm.

    I still contend this bill is superfluous because of the exceptionally low gun violence rates in South Dakota. Let's not knee-jerk in one direction or the other; keep our focus on making the lives of South Dakotans better, and this stuff should take care of itself.

  15. Bill Dithmer 2013.01.18

    Would this same law be directed at busses? After all your kids spend a good deal of their time on busses as well as school.

    I see the opportunity for some good money to be made if this law passes. Right now there is a waiting period for any law enforcement officer that wants certification to get into the academy, last I heard six months. If some retired police officer with the right credentials would start such a school there is money to be had. Just saying. It could even be out of state like the drug dogs do and then get the certification through a test just like the dogs.

    The Blindman

  16. Fred Deutsch 2013.01.18

    No way would I sit down at the contract negotiation table with a group of gun-slinging teachers seated across from me!

  17. Fred Deutsch 2013.01.18

    Not unless the law authorizes school board members to carry too!

  18. Barry Smith 2013.01.18

    With Schools being the safest place for children, and South Dakota never having had a school shooting ( one accidental shooting). If this law passes and any districts take up the effort and cost to go along with it, they may feel like they are making the kids safer, but in all probability they will be making it more likely that there will be a gun incident in a South Dakota school.

  19. PrairieLady - Gayle 2013.01.18

    Bill, you are such a good voice of reason. Thanks.
    I do not have children in schools and can not believe we have gotten to this point in the US or even SD. I have come from a family who always hunted and usually ate what we killed, but life has gone on beyond....

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Bret, Rep. Betty Olson may not have sat down to co-write with Rep. Rev. Craig, but she is the one who jumped out before any other legislator in South Dakota and called for arming the teachers. She's the one who dismissed concerns about crossfire by saying that the victims would be dead anyway in a school shooting. I think that language indiciates a cavalier attitude about firearms. The attitude of a legislator says something about the attitude of those who elect her.

  21. bret clanton 2013.01.19

    I do not see you making verbal attacks on the voters that elected Rep. Craig and Sen. Tieszen who by the way are the co-writers of HB 1087....

  22. bret clanton 2013.01.19

    I would guess my word to study today is hypocrisy.......

  23. Mike Henriksen 2013.01.19

    My wife, daughter, and several other members of the family are teachers. I know a few of them that will quit that profession rather than be in an environment where guns are allowed on anyone other than a trained law enforcement officer.

    Also, is the Legislature aware that some schools dropped their "officer in the school" program when budget cuts were made?

  24. bret clanton 2013.01.19

    I would not assume that all the voters in my district share the same view points anymore than I would assume that all educators in the Spearfish school district share yours. And they do not by the way....

  25. owen reitzel 2013.01.19

    I still haven't heard how this is going to be paid for. Maybe its an unfunded mandate from Pierre

  26. Charlie Johnson 2013.01.19

    Good points, Mike. Another way to lose more good teachers. This legislation needs to die in committee.

  27. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    omyfreakingod: "State Sen. Jeff Monroe: "When people talk to me about how bad guns are, and how they're an atheist -- they kind of go together."" RT @ArgusMontgomery

  28. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    the human experiment suffers confirmation bias.

  29. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    Developing: accidental shooting shuts down Raleigh gun show. RT @NBC17

  30. Steve Sibson 2013.01.19

    "The attitude of a legislator says something about the attitude of those who elect her."

    Cory, your attitude shows complete and total disregard for the rights of your fellow teachers.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Steve, my fellow teachers do not have a right to engage in pedagogically unsound practices like carrying guns in their classrooms.

  32. Steve Sibson 2013.01.19

    Your fellow teachers have a Second Amendment right that is being taken away by New Age Theocrats, all in the name of "pedagogically unsound practices", which does not include promoting sex worship.

  33. larry kurtz 2013.01.19

    '98 study on guns in homes: For every use in self defense, there were 4 accidental shootings, 7 assaults/homicides, & 11 suicide attempts. RT @brookejarvis

  34. Donald Pay 2013.01.19

    I voted to expel students for violations of Rapid City Schools' weapons policy. The best defense against violence in schools is observant and caring parents, students and teachers, reasonable policies that minimize building access, bullying and weapons in schools, and some security personnel who command respect of the student body. Once you get to the point of arming teachers, you might as well close the school.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Hmm... it looks like the Otten's bill draws the veto pen again... but the Governor's language is not as clear on Rep. Rev. Craig's bill (from Barry's link to KDLT):

    "The Republican governor also says any plan to improve school safety, such as letting teachers or administrators have guns in schools, should be developed by local school officials and law enforcement agencies. He says law officers believe school entrances should be made more secure."

    So is he saying we should chuck Craig's bill and wait for the ASBSD and police associations to bring forward a bill next year? Or is he saying that Craig's bill authorizes exactly the sort of local plan-making that he's talking about?

  36. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Steve, horsehockey. My fellow teachers have First Amendment rights that we take away on school grounds because having them advocate their political views in the classroom would be detrimental to quality education (not to mention an abuse of their public position). My fellow teachers must also give up their Second Amendment rights on campus for the sake of creating an effective, non-fear-ridden learning environment.

    Now, if you want to claim that the Second Amendment is absolute and trumps pedagogical concerns, then I want your to declare the First Amendment similarly absolute and give me full liberty to spend every day speaking to my students (in French, of course) about how great a President Barack Obama is and how they should never, ever vote for Republicans.

    Pick your poisons, Steve. You don't get one absolutist interpretation without the other. If my fellow teachers get to carry guns into their classrooms, then I get to carry my Constitutionally protected weapon of choice into mine. (I feel a pen-and-sword metaphor coming on.)

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Mike, I'd love to see a list of schools that dropped those programs due to budget cuts. I suggest that the schools that cut their in-house cops recognized that they do more good for their kids spending their money on teachers, janitors, counselors, books, computers, and activities, not guns and fear.

  38. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.01.19

    Owen, good point! Whatever school board decides to spend money on a school-gunslinger program should be sued by constituents for malpractice... or at least voted out and replaced with people not ruled by fear. Add up the money it would cost to acquire a firearm and the necessary training to ensure proper maintenance and use of that weapon in a school setting. Every penny could be better spent for more immediate and daily good on iPads for teachers and students, on faster Web connections, on new textbooks, and subscriptions to foreign-language magazines, on any number of classroom materials that my fellow teachers could brainstorm up for you in two minutes.

    HB 1087 opens the doors for schools to use that precious state funding irresponsibly. The Legislature might just as well authorize schools to distribute condoms and cannibis.

  39. Dana P. 2013.02.07

    highly trained and heavily armed good guys with guns..... under very high stress and chaos.... accidentally shoot wrong people in search for very bad guy with guns.

    I'm not making light of this, and I'm not out to smack the cops on this one. Just trying to highlight what can and does happen in a very high stress situation with people that are armed and have on-going training. So please, SD Legs, tell me why you want to arm teachers and are you "what iffing" when something like this happens?? Have you really thought this through??

    I know the answer......

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