Mississippi Senate advances tightened guns-in-schools bill

MGN Online

Schools and colleges could allow teachers or staff members to carry guns after they get firearms training, under legislation advanced Wednesday by Mississippi lawmakers.

Posted: Mar 7, 2018 6:58 PM
Updated: Mar 7, 2018 7:14 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Schools and colleges could allow teachers or staff members to carry guns after they get firearms training, under legislation advanced Wednesday by Mississippi lawmakers.

The state Senate voted 27-18 to pass House Bill 1083 , in response to school shootings in other states. The bill now returns to the House for more debate.

Sen. Briggs Hopson, a Vicksburg Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary A Committee, said he took "no joy" at the prospect of having more guns in schools, but believes it's necessary.

"I want to make it as clear as I can make it," Hopson said. "This is not mandatory. There is no requirement that they do this. This is up to each local school district."

Some Democrats opposed the bill, saying they were concerned about teachers shouldering the burden of carrying guns in addition to all the other responsibilities they bear.

"They are carrying it in and teaching math and have it strapped to their side?" asked Sen. David Jordan, a Greenwood Democrat.

Hopson said some guns are already allowed on campuses because of a Mississippi law allowing concealed-carry permit holders who have received extra training to bring guns into normally prohibited places.

"You're not putting more guns in schools than there were a week ago or a year ago," Hopson said.

The bill was amended Wednesday by Sen. Kevin Blackwell, a Southaven Republican, to tighten requirements for school and college employees to include 36 hours of training, a psychological screening and an annual shooting test where the employee would have to score 85 percent. It would also keep secret the identities of employees carrying weapons.

Hopson's school safety measure was added in a Senate committee to an underlying House bill that allows people to challenge other government restrictions on where they can carry guns. Universities had raised concerns that the bill would let people carry guns into athletic events. Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey warned that teams might decline to play at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.

The Senate bill would bar people with enhanced concealed carry permits from carrying guns into school or university athletic events if there are armed police officers at the entrances of a stadium or gymnasium.

A handful of Republicans voted against the bill because it would limit gun rights in that way.

"I have no idea how this body would restrict when we should be expanding these rights," said Sen. Chris McDaniel, an Ellisville Republican who's currently seeking a U.S. Senate seat.

The measure would still allow people to challenge other gun restrictions. Unlike the original proposal, however, it wouldn't void all existing rules that have been imposed by governments.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds304154
DeSoto200920
Madison150839
Jones123149
Harrison118316
Rankin113719
Neshoba104577
Forrest104343
Lauderdale97281
Scott83115
Jackson80419
Washington75313
Copiah67516
Leake63520
Lee63022
Grenada6259
Oktibbeha62328
Warren60021
Holmes59841
Lamar5847
Wayne56819
Yazoo5667
Lowndes54917
Leflore53956
Lincoln53835
Pike51120
Lafayette5094
Sunflower5058
Panola4616
Monroe46036
Simpson4533
Covington4505
Bolivar41618
Tate39513
Attala38624
Newton37710
Adams36720
Pontotoc3636
Marion34912
Claiborne31511
Pearl River30832
Chickasaw30219
Winston30211
Marshall2973
Jasper2826
Noxubee2799
Walthall2748
Clay26211
Smith25612
Union25612
Coahoma2356
Clarke22825
Lawrence2162
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1974
Montgomery1863
Kemper18414
Carroll18311
Humphreys17410
Calhoun1705
Hancock15213
Itawamba1478
Tippah14711
Jefferson1373
Webster13511
Prentiss1274
Tunica1263
George1253
Jefferson Davis1254
Greene11610
Alcorn1112
Amite1113
Tishomingo1091
Quitman1011
Wilkinson1019
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin572
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 56441

Reported Deaths: 1136
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7012170
Mobile5061140
Montgomery4599112
Tuscaloosa274353
Madison25359
Marshall205012
Shelby176425
Lee164737
Morgan13975
Baldwin134111
Walker111332
Elmore107622
Etowah106914
Dallas10189
DeKalb10017
Franklin95016
Unassigned77728
Autauga71515
Russell7130
Chambers68530
Cullman6686
Limestone6653
Butler65529
Houston6417
Tallapoosa63069
Lauderdale6006
St. Clair5983
Calhoun5545
Colbert5286
Escambia5128
Lowndes49222
Pike4805
Jackson4422
Coffee4364
Covington43512
Talladega4177
Dale4061
Barbour4022
Bullock37810
Hale36323
Marengo36111
Chilton3452
Blount3311
Clarke3236
Wilcox3158
Marion30914
Winston3095
Sumter29713
Pickens2786
Randolph2759
Monroe2683
Perry2552
Conecuh2388
Bibb2271
Macon2229
Choctaw22012
Greene2009
Henry1573
Washington1529
Lawrence1460
Crenshaw1343
Cherokee1317
Geneva1010
Fayette901
Clay892
Lamar891
Coosa671
Cleburne481
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