The state’s Senate Education Committee is scheduled to hear a bill at 8 a.m. today that would allow up to three school employees to carry a concealed handgun on school property.
State law prohibits anyone from carrying guns on school property, except police and security guards. Under SB 230, sponsored by Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort, R-Sandia Park, public schools would have the option to designate employees to be armed on school premises. The employees would need to have a valid concealed handgun license.
“We need to stop a tragedy before it happens,” Beffort said in a statement. “It is an option that school boards can decide if they want. If they want it, then a shooter is not going to know who has a concealed carry.”
Beffort said changes have to be made in light of the school shootings across the nation, particularly the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December.
During the 1997 Pearl High School shooting in Pearl, Miss., Beffort said an assistant principal retrieved a gun from his car and was able to stop the gunman until police arrived.
“This gunman had already fatally shot two students,” she said. “Who knows how many lives the assistant principal saved that day?”
Beffort said she wanted to emphasize that the bill is strictly voluntary.
“Nothing in the bill would force any school or school district to implement this law unless the school district and its community wished to do so,” she said.
The committee meeting will be available for online viewing live on the Legislature’s website, nmlegis.gov/lcs/