Oklahoma Senate passes bill making it easier to arm teachers
The Oklahoma Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that could make it easier for Oklahoma teachers and school personnel to carry a firearm at school.
The bill by Republican Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant, and Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, would change requirements for teachers to be able to be armed at school.
Bullard said the rural school districts in his area want the legislation because it could take a significant amount of time for law enforcement to respond to a mass shooting on campus.
"We have students right now that are vulnerable if someone walks in with a gun," he said. "It’s a manslaughter and there’s nothing they can do about it."
Teachers would no longer be required to complete a 240-hour Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training certification course in order to be armed at school. Bullard said the requirement is cost prohibitive and time intensive to a point that it deters teachers from participating.
Instead, under House Bill 2336, school personnel who undergo the eight-hour concealed carry class or the 72 hours of armed security guard training would be eligible to carry on campus at K-12 schools. The personnel also would have to go through "campus-specific active shooter training" as stipulated by local law enforcement agencies.
The campus-specific training would vary based on a school's size and layout and would be intended for law enforcement to work one-on-one with teachers or school staff who intend to be armed, Bullard said.
Senate Democrats said the legislation could result in teachers having various levels of training depending on which district they teach.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Safety in America volunteer Cacky Poarch said members of the Senate sided with "gun extremists" when they approved HB 2336.
During the permitless carry debate, many senators talked about how the concealed carry training is "worthless," she said. Poarch added eight hours of training isn't enough.
"There were a lot of members in the chamber today that were contacted that ignored the will of the people today," she said. "Guns do not belong in schools, and it became obvious they really don't have plans for training."
Democratic Sen. Kay Floyd said the schools in her Oklahoma City district aren't on board with the proposed legislation.
"The beautiful thing about this, is if you don’t want it, you don't have to implement it," Bullard said.
In 2015, state lawmakers approved legislation to allow school personnel to carry a gun on campus and outlined the training required to be armed.
The Senate passed HB 2336 on a nearly party-line vote of 37-7. The bill, which was written by the head of the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, was carried over from last year and will return to the House because it was amended in the Senate.