Bill to allow guns in schools moves to House
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Thursday, February 07, 2013
2/07/13 at 7:04 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A measure to allow some school personnel to carry guns in classrooms advanced from the House Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
House Bill 1062 by Rep. Mark McCullough, R-Sapulpa, would authorize individual districts to develop policies that allow teachers and administrators to be armed on school grounds but only if they are also reserve law officers. The committee voted 8-3 to send the bill to the full House, with Democrats Ed Cannaday and Brian Renegar and Republican Tommy Hardin casting the no votes.
The bill requires completion of a Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training course for reserve offices, and leaves individual districts to decide whether to implement the policy.
In response to a question, McCullough acknowledged the work of a special school safety task force led by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, but said, "My duty as a legislator is to bring forward ideas that solve the problem."
McCullough said he expects HR 1062 to change substantially as it works its way through the legislative process. One particular area of concern, he agreed, is sorting out liability issues.
Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, asked about oversight of armed teachers and administrators. McCullough said they would undergo the same background checks as anyone applying to be a reserve law officer, plus any additional safeguards required by local districts.
Tulsa County Undersheriff Tim Albin, who was in the Capitol on other business, attended the committee meeting and spoke in favor of McCullough's bill.
"The bill does have its flaws," Albin said later. "But for some of the rural schools, our position is that it's better to have somebody there who's trained than nobody at all."
Wagoner Public Schools Superintendent Monte Johnson spoke in opposition to the bill, saying, "We're going to have more accidental shootings" than intentional attacks.
Johnson said Oklahoma has had three school shootings in recent years - an attack on students at Fort Gibson in 2000 and two suicides this year - and none would have been stopped by armed teachers or administrators.
The Fort Gibson shooter, 13-year-old Seth Trickey, was subdued by an unarmed teacher.
The bill is now eligible for consideration by the full House.
Original Print Headline: Guns in schools bill moves to House
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Mark McCullough: Bill would allow armed personnel on school grounds.