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: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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