Gov. Deal backs guns for school administrators

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday predicted passage of a bill that would allow trained administrators to have guns in schools.

 

ATLANTA — Gov. Nathan Deal on Wednesday predicted passage of a bill that would allow trained administrators to have guns in schools.

During the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast, Deal said much of any new gun-control measures were in the realm of federal government.

But the governor acknowledged he agreed with one state lawmaker’s idea in response to the December elementary school shooting in Connecticut that killed 26 children and adults: a bill to allow administrators who undergo the same weapons training as law-enforcement officers to carry guns in schools.

“That one does have some merit,” Deal said of a bill proposed by Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, that would authorize local school boards to arm principals if they choose. “If someone is going to be in an environment around children, they certainly need to be trained. I think it’s one that may receive favorable consideration by the General Assembly.”

Other bills would either impose greater restrictions on the owning of firearms or remove them entirely.

Terry Tittel, of Evans, said arming school administrators with weapons is not a good solution for preventing school violence.

“They’re already trying to do the best to teach our children. Now, you’re going to add something else for them to train on,” Tittel said. “Let’s develop a less encroaching solution, a different type of security for all the doors as you’re coming in.”

J.D. Drinnen, of Martinez, agrees with arming school administrators but said it should be voluntary, not mandatory.

“That’s a serious thing to contemplate especially if you’re surrounded by children,” Drinnen said.

Russell Creighton, of North Augusta, said training school administrators to carry guns is not necessary if police are present at schools.

“That’s just overkill,” Creighton said.

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SENATOR WANTS MORE OFFICERS

COLUMBIA — The state Senate’s Democratic leader has proposed legislation funding a police officer in every public school in South Carolina.

Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler introduced a bill Wednesday requiring the Legislature to put enough money in the state budget to cover the officers’ pay.

Setzler says it’s meant to jumpstart debate. The West Columbia Democrat’s proposal comes a week after State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel told a Senate panel that every school needs an officer. Keel says that’s his top recommendation for making schools safer following the massacre last month at a Connecticut elementary school.

Most districts already pay for an assigned officer at their middle and high schools.

State funding for an officer in all schools would cost tens of millions of dollars.

– Associated Press

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