Pa. Senate OKs Bill That Would Allow Teachers to Carry Guns

The measure passed in a 28-22 vote Wednesday – but Gov. Wolf opposes it.

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The Pa. Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry guns on school property.

After a heated debate, legislators approved Senate Bill 383 in a 28-22 vote. It would allow workers with concealed carry licenses to possess guns in schools if they meet training requirements and pass a psychological evaluation.

The legislation garnered harsh pushback from state senators who believe arming school employees would only exasperate gun issues and create dangerous situations. 

Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach, who voted against the bill, read a letter on the Senator floor from survivors of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. In the letter, the survivors say that having the option of arming themselves “would not have made us or our students any safer. In fact, it might’ve made things worse.”

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Don White, said in a statement that the measure would allow him to “sleep better at night knowing our school districts have more tools at their disposal to fight the unspeakable evil that causes a few in our society to seek to harm our children.”

The bill now heads to the Pa. House of Representatives.

Gov. Tom Wolf strongly opposes the measure. In a statement issued in April, Wolf’s spokesperson J.J. Abbott said the governor plans to veto the bill.

“School personnel shouldn’t be told that the only help they will get from Harrisburg to make schools safer is the option to carry a loaded gun around their students,” Abbott said in the statement. “Harrisburg can help schools be safer by giving them adequate funding so schools can hire trained security professionals like school resource or police officers should school professionals feel they need it, and counselors and support staff for students.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

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