Lawmakers set to debate bill arming teachers

Capitol Bureau

School teacher and Overland Park State Representative Brett Parker is against arming teachers.  

“I think anyone pushing this bill has not spent a lot of time in a classroom,” Parker said, “It’s just a recipe for an accident or a tragedy.”

Parker said he spent the past 72 hours gathering signatures for an online petition against House Bill 2789. 

“I think we just surpassed 6,000 signatures and in addition to that, 280 people have submitted written testimony against the bill,” explained Parker. 

Currently, under Kansas state law, teachers are allowed to carry concealed weapons in schools. However, it’s up to the districts to create a concealed carry policy, but because insurance rates would increase with the added risk school districts have opted against it. 

“I think this just makes it to where it’s more affordable to the taxpayers in order to have this policy in place so that the school boards can move forward and not pay an arm and a leg,” explained State Rep. Blake Carpenter, R-Derby. 

Carpenter is behind the bill and said it would prevent insurance companies from raising prices or refusing to provide coverage to districts allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons. 

“There is more training involved in this bill for these individuals. They have to pass a law enforcement shooting test, they have to pass a higher standard to get these sponsorship,” explained Carpenter. 

Under the bill, the names of the teachers or administrators carrying a weapon wouldn’t be released. 

There is also a provision in the bill which says school districts could be found negligent in a school tragedy if it chooses not to arm an employee. Carpenter said he would be supportive if that piece was removed from the legislation. 

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for 8 a.m. Tuesday. 

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