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: 33591

Reported Deaths: 1204
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds264246
DeSoto176718
Madison135536
Jones115949
Neshoba101673
Harrison100312
Rankin99915
Lauderdale93781
Forrest92743
Scott78515
Jackson70417
Copiah62715
Washington62610
Leake59820
Lee57521
Holmes57041
Oktibbeha55728
Wayne55116
Warren54020
Yazoo5336
Grenada5227
Lowndes51513
Leflore50756
Lamar5007
Lincoln49234
Pike46617
Sunflower4368
Monroe43135
Lafayette4194
Covington3965
Panola3926
Bolivar37018
Attala36523
Simpson3603
Newton35210
Adams33218
Tate31912
Pontotoc3166
Marion30812
Chickasaw29119
Claiborne28910
Winston28210
Noxubee2738
Pearl River26932
Jasper2666
Marshall2643
Clay25111
Smith23412
Union23311
Coahoma2136
Clarke21125
Walthall2087
Lawrence1892
Yalobusha1838
Kemper17914
Carroll17111
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1564
Montgomery1432
Calhoun1425
Tippah14211
Itawamba1408
Hancock13413
Webster12811
Tunica1153
Jefferson1143
Jefferson Davis1144
Prentiss1113
Greene1089
Amite1043
George943
Wilkinson949
Tishomingo911
Quitman891
Alcorn762
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone722
Franklin472
Benton420
Sharkey400
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 48588

Reported Deaths: 1042
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5687161
Mobile4315136
Montgomery4275109
Tuscaloosa238248
Marshall181511
Madison16208
Lee146337
Shelby141424
Morgan11575
Baldwin10399
Walker101825
Elmore97519
Dallas9189
Franklin90616
Etowah83413
DeKalb7905
Chambers64727
Autauga64312
Butler63728
Tallapoosa60669
Russell5890
Unassigned53826
Houston5366
Limestone5251
Lauderdale5146
Cullman4905
Lowndes47922
Pike4525
Colbert4426
St. Clair4402
Escambia4358
Calhoun4035
Coffee3923
Covington38110
Bullock36910
Barbour3622
Jackson3432
Talladega3337
Dale3261
Marengo32011
Hale31722
Wilcox2958
Clarke2876
Sumter28512
Winston2773
Chilton2762
Blount2581
Monroe2442
Pickens2446
Marion24114
Randolph2289
Conecuh2187
Macon2029
Choctaw19912
Bibb1981
Greene1888
Perry1791
Henry1403
Crenshaw1253
Washington1217
Lawrence1130
Cherokee1117
Geneva860
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa601
Cleburne391
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