Bill to put armed guards in schools faces last hurdle and opposition
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -
As lawmakers work on a plan to put more armed guards inside opponents say not so fast.
"When I was growing up, kids saw police officers as their friends. This could create an environment where police and students become adversarial rather than allies," said Representative John Hines, a Democrat from Greenville.
Hines is talking about a piece of legislation currently being negotiated between house and senate chambers. Under it, the state would set up a $7.5 million grant through the department of education.
The option to have more armed guards would then be up to individual schools districts. Those districts would get a $10,000 grant and must put up matching funds to help pay for the additional guard.
"Unfortunately in the world we live in, there are people who will try to take advantage of any situation and that's why we have to have security," said Senator Lydia Chassaniol, a Republican from Winona.
Lawmakers in support of the bill says it's simply a way to provide lacking protection for children.
"They're sitting ducks as it is right now," said Senator Joey Fillingane, a Republican from Sumrall.
Fillingane is one of the bill's co-authors and says criminals are not going to pay attention to current law. With easy access into public schools, he says those criminals need a better deterrent.
"If they're not going to abide by the law and they're going to bring guns in the school and shoot our children and our teachers then I think somebody ought to be shooting back at them," said Fillingane.
Opponents however point to other investments, like additional resources and counseling services, calling the legislation a knee jerk reaction to recent school shootings.
"Guns should never, never be on campus. More guns equal a greater likely hood of guns being used," said Jed Oppenheim with the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Lawmakers only have a few days to come to an agreement if they want this to become law.