Debate continues over bill to allow school employees to carry guns

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Quincy Smart, a freshman in a high school near Pittsburgh, stood outside the state Capitol on Tuesday.

He was there with other students and the group CeaseFire Pennsylvania to ask lawmakers to vote no on Senate Bill 383. The measure would allow school employees to carry guns.

Lawmakers who support the bill argue the legislation is about protecting students during an emergency, but Smart doesn’t agree.

“I would feel like I was being watched,” Smart said.

Opponents to the bill, like the group Moms Demand Action, argue that teachers aren’t trained law enforcement members and that’s not what they signed up for.

Deb Martelso was an educator for more than three decades.

“Our job in the school is to take care of the children,” she said. “If there is an emergency, our job is to be with our kids and not running after a gunman down the hallways.”

Sen. Don White (R-41st) drafted the legislation which has come up in the past.

“I just want schools to have the option to put another tool in their tool chest,” he said.

White said staff members would have to volunteer for the position and would have to undergo intense training. He mentioned that district wouldn’t have to use it.

White also told ABC 27 News that a gun in the hand of the right person could save children’s lives during an emergency.

“If somebody comes into their school with the intent of harm, they want to protect themselves and the children they teach and love,” he said.

Gov. Tom Wolf has said he will veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

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