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.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 844951

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161002006
Mobile741871379
Madison53279732
Shelby38325368
Baldwin38068589
Tuscaloosa36009641
Montgomery34482781
Lee25550263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22451406
Etowah20013517
Marshall18777316
Houston17727425
St. Clair16875358
Limestone16135218
Cullman16044303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14968306
Talladega14189299
DeKalb12967269
Walker12020380
Blount10714192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10157194
Coffee9414192
Colbert9334208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7254201
Russell707765
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6932195
Franklin6340108
Chambers5783142
Marion5401130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318189
Cherokee317563
Crenshaw260477
Washington256952
Cleburne254460
Lamar251253
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192762
Coosa184947
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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