Senate resolution urges school districts to have armed personnel to protect students and staff

03/01/2018 02:11 PM

FRANKFORT – A Senate resolution which would encourage local school districts to arm school personnel with firearms was passed by the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection on Thursday.

SR 172, sponsored by Sen. John Schickel, R-Union would urge the board of education or board of trustees of a school to allow teachers and other school personnel to carry firearms for their own protection.

Kentucky law currently gives school districts the right to such actions already, thus the resolution acts as a reminder for districts to take such action as they deem necessary.

Last week, Pike County authorized arming some school personnel for the safety and students and staff.

Schickel says that his resolution is not about pressuring teachers to carry guns.

“What this is about is giving local school districts, with the assistance of their competent sheriff’s departments, tools in the toolbox,” Schickel said.

Kenton County Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn favors the idea of arming trained school personnel.

“In the last 27 shootings in public venues like the schools, 26 were in non-gun related entities, you were not allowed to carry there,” Korzenborn said.

Boone County Sheriff Mike Helmig says that the armed personnel in schools to protect the staff and faculty would, in most cases, not necessarily be teachers.

“There are many military veterans working in our schools, retired law enforcement or ex-law enforcement with backgrounds, but how many school employees have their conceal and carry permit, that would be more than willing to volunteer to go through this training, through this selection process, and be willing to serve to get rid of these gun-free zones,” Helmig said.

Chris Breseman of Lexington, a parent of students in Fayette County Schools, was not in favor of arming school personnel.

“I will pull my kids out of school if you arm teachers,” Breseman said.

Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, a retired police officer, had concerns about how a person who is armed in effort to protect school students and staff will react under pressure.

“We’re talking about 4 or 5 days of training, and there was a study done by the New York Police Department that during high stress situations, officers are accurate about 13 percent of the time with their shots,” Carroll said. “So, you take someone who has 4 or 5 days’ worth of training, that has no experience with a firearm should a school decide to allow someone who does not have a military or law enforcement background to be in an active shooter situation, it’s commonly known if you get more than 5 feet away in a stressful situation, there’s a good likelihood that you’re going to miss your target and there’s a chance an innocent life is going to be taken.”

Schickel said that he understands Carroll’s concerns, but feels that it’s time to do something with the increase in the number of shootings.

“I think it has to do with what kind of faith we have in our citizens to act in an emergency situation,” Schickel said. “Could there be mistakes? Absolutely, but what are the alternatives? I tin this is a really good reasoned approach.”

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