by Paul Bowers
In the South Carolina legislature's 2013-2014 legislative session, the House Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons in schools.
The bill, H.3160, was filed Tuesday by Rep. Phillip Lowe, a Republican from Florence. If the bill passes, any employee will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in schools as long as he or she:
(1) keeps the firearm on his person at all times while on the premises;
(2) keeps the weapon concealed when not in use;
(3) uses only frangible bullets [that is, ammunition designed to disintegrate on impact] in an effort to avoid ricochets;
(4) provides written notification of his intent to carry the firearm to the principal of the school where the weapon will be carried;
(5) successfully completes and biennially renews certification as a precision marksman by SLED; and
(6) has no history of violence or unmanaged anger documented by his employer.
Under the bill, school districts can deny the gun-owner's right to carry a concealed gun, but only if he or she violates one of those six provisions. Currently, state law prohibits all firearms on school property "without the express permission of the authorities in charge of the premises or property."
A similar bill is meeting resistance in Michigan. Last Thursday — the day before the school shootings in Newtown, Conn. — lawmakers there passed a bill allowing concealed weapons in churches, schools, and daycare centers. But Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bill on Tuesday.
"While we must vigilantly protect the rights of law-abiding firearm owners, we also must ensure the right of designated public entities to exercise their best discretion in matters of safety and security," Snyder said in a press release. "These public venues need clear legal authority to ban firearms on their premises if they see fit to do so."
South Carolina's bill was one of 350 that members of the South Carolina House and Senate pre-filed this week for the upcoming legislative session, which begins Jan. 8. To peruse what else is coming up in the Statehouse, check out the bill summaries on the Statehouse website.