The debate over guns in schools is not only a national issue but one Mississippi legislators are facing as they prepare to vote on a bill in the House.
Few people know a Mississippi law passed in 2011, already gives schools the option of arming school staff. That fact came to light when the Senate wanted to add the option of arming school staff to HB 1083, after the Florida school shootings. HB 1083 would allow those with an enhanced conceal carry firearm license to have the weapon on public property. The Senate voted to add more required weapons training to the bill and sent it back to the House. But the realization some schools may arm staff is raising concerns ahead of a vote in the House. Republican Rob Roberson of Starkville is Vice Chair of the Education Committee.
"So your vote is "no?" says, Frazier. For today it is, until I'm certain that there's more training and more guards, until I know that my teachers are for this. I haven't heard but from two teachers who are in favor of this and I've heard from 30 that aren't.
Roberson says he'd like to see more armed resource officers in schools first. House Republican Timmy Ladner of Poplarville says he understands the concerns raised by some teachers. But he's worried that gun-free school zone signs could invite potential trouble.
"That let's folks know who might want to come in and harm somebody that they don't have any opposition once they enter the school," said Ladner.
House Democrat Steve Holland of Tupelo is opposed to HB1083.
"I just don't think this is right in the public education system in the State of Mississippi or for the matter anywhere. If the school board wants to do security built a fence around the school or build a fence around the door and put a trained law officer there. But I just don't like the fact of guns in a classroom," said Holland.
The Senate also added a provision that prevents guns from being carried at sporting events when law enforcement is present.