Cobb County, Georgia has voted in favour of legislation that will allow people who are not law enforcement officers to carry firearms in school.
The legislation does not stretch as far as other states, in that it doesn’t allow for teachers to be armed. The legislation was approved after a 4-2 vote. The vote was largely down partisan lines and opponents of the legislation shouted, “Delay the vote!” and “Shame!” after it was approved, according to ABC News.
Cobb County Superintendent Chris Ragsdal addressed school board members before the vote and explained that the district currently only has 67 law enforcement officers available for its 114 schools.
“If the board gave me a blank check and said go hire a school resource officer for every school in Cobb County, I could not do that,” Ragsdale said.
The original wording of the legislation proposed that teachers also be armed, however Ragsdal removed that before the final version was issued. Ragsdal said that even if teachers had “unique qualifications,” the legislation would not support them being armed.
“I am not in favor of arming teachers. However, I am in favor of investigating all options so we could hire retired military, retired law enforcement,” Ragsdale said.
The legislation states that anyone carrying a gun in school will have to be trained and also that they will also be required to undergo a psychological evaluation. Chief of Police Ron Storey would be given final approval on each member of staff and no member of staff would be forced to carry a gun. The names of all staff will who are given approval will be kept confidential. Guns would also have to be either concealed on the body or locked away securely.
“On a need-to-know basis, everyone who needs to know who these individuals are is going to know who they are,” Ragsdale said.
Jaha Howard, who is a Democrat, voted against the legislation due to lack of evidence that it will work. “I have yet to see any data or evidence that more gun-carrying professionals means our kids or staff will be safer,” Howard said. Howard also attempted to delay the vote until the 1st of August.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWSTIMES.COM
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