- Thursday marks 18 years since the Columbine High School massacre.
Allowing teachers to carry loaded guns in school would cause more problems than it would solve, yet the state Senate Education Committee has approved a bill to allow school personnel to pack much more than their lunches.
Sen. Kelly Armstrong says Senate and House negotiators could not agree on some provisions in the bill.
The Republican, representing Indiana County in Western Pennsylvania, had previously introduced the bill last session.
On Jan. 13, Sen. The bill is based on recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control for the optimal time to start school for improved public health of teenage students.
Current law prohibits firearms in schools, but there is an exception for a weapon that is "possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful goal".
Senate Bill 383 would allow school boards to decide if qualified employees should be allowed to access guns on school grounds.
He said the Department of Education considers "other lawful purpose" to be "unclear and unsettled, especially as it relates to school employees and parents (or citizens) possessing a weapon on school property".
Republican Sen. Ryan Aument highlighted the fact that the bill would not require teachers to carry firearms but merely give local school boards the authority to allow trained staff to do so.
Also, "As we weigh our options, I believe we need to consider providing school employees with more choices than just locking a door, hiding in a closet or diving in front of bullets to protect students".
"Teachers have come to me and said I want the opportunity to defend my children and to defend my life and give me something more powerful than an eraser to throw at these people", White said Wednesday.
Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePa, voiced concerns over the bill's lack of detail regarding how guns would be stored in schools and the fact that teachers would have to take training classes designed for law enforcement.