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Kansas Legislation Proposes Making Schools Liable If They Won’t Allow Armed Teachers

By  Hank Berrien

Catalyzed by the Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland, Florida, some Kansas legislators have proposed legislation that would hold schools legally responsible if they refuse to allow teachers to carry guns and the school is attacked. The bill would also authorize districts to let certain staff members carry firearms in schools if they have a license to carry concealed firearms and undergo additional special training, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.

Rep. Blake Carpenter, a Republican who helped write the legislation, pointed out to the House Insurance Committee that in many cases, it could take precious minutes for police to arrive in case of an imminent attack, and in smaller districts in which school resource officers aren’t hired because of a lack of funding, the bill would allow for the “next best thing,” adding, “It is not, if our kids will be killed. It is, when will they be killed and what are we doing to prevent it?”

Teachers in Kansas have been allowed to carry concealed guns since 2013 but school districts ended that practice after EMC Insurance Companies, the state’s primary school insurer, would not cover schools with armed staff. The proposed bill would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to a school because it permitted its teachers or staff members to carry weapons.

Democratic Rep. Brett Parker, an Overland Park school teacher who opposes the bill, stated, “The further we go down this rabbit hole, the more chance there is for even more obnoxious legislation moving forward.”

In addition to the bill, which had its first hearing before the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday, Republican leaders in the House offered another bill that is centered on improving school infrastructure without addressing whether to arm teachers.

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