There is no question that school shootings are a problem throughout the country and, unfortunately, Oklahoma is no different. In order to try and prevent the number of shootings and deaths, legislators in the Sooner State keep coming back to one idea: allowing teachers to carry guns on school property. This, they argue, would allow teachers to defend their students and themselves in the case of an active shooter on campus.
This was the same argument made in early April when lawmakers debated House Bill 2336. It’s a bill that could allow any teacher to carry a gun onto school property.
Current Oklahoma Law on Guns in Schools
In 2015, Oklahoma passed legislation that currently allows teachers to bring their guns onto school property, but they must leave them in the car. According to Oklahoma Statute Title 21, Section 1277, only teachers who have undergone security guard training or peace officer training are allowed to carry their guns from their vehicle onto school property.
This is the main section of the law the new bill is trying to change. However, even if the law is passed, it doesn’t mean that all teachers in every school will be required to carry a gun.
House Bill 2336
It is true that the new bill would eliminate the requirement that teachers take specialized training before carrying their gun onto school grounds. That doesn’t mean that anyone who wishes to bring a gun to school will be able to, though.
It will be up to the individual school boards to determine what kind of training a teacher will have to undergo before they can bring a gun to school. It doesn’t necessarily eliminate the requirement of training; it simply gives the school boards broader discretion.
State Representative J.J. Humphrey made a statement clearing up some of the bill’s language. He reiterated that not all teachers will be required to carry guns if they don’t feel comfortable. He also touched on the fact that not all schools may even allow guns onto the property.
Instead, he stated that the bill was drafted with rural schools in mind. These are schools that are often far away from police stations and other emergency services, and as such are particularly vulnerable when an active shooter begins their attack because it simply takes much longer for help to arrive. For these schools, arming a few teachers with guns may make sense.
Still, the new law has many concerned that if it is passed, more children may actually become hurt while at school. Only time will tell if that will happen, or even if the bill will make it into law. It has moved on to the Senate and, if it passes there, will move to the governor’s office for signature.
When Problems Arise, Speak to an Oklahoma Education Lawyer
With this latest education bill still in its early days, it’s difficult to determine with certainty if it’s a good or bad thing for Oklahoma. It’s clear, though, that an increased presence of firearms on schools does pose some risks. If you’re concerned or feel as though your child’s rights have not been upheld due to this or any other bill, speak to an education lawyer in Oklahoma City who can help.
At Banks, Gillett, Gillett, PLLC, we understand that every child has a right to feel safe when they’re at school. If your child’s rights have not been upheld, contact us today at (405) 607-4800 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. If something’s wrong at your child’s school, we’ll help make it right.