Texas legislators have sent a bill to Governor Rick Perry that allows schools to train and maintain teachers as “armed marshals” on campuses.
The bill, which had already passed the Texas house, enjoyed a bipartisan passage of 28-3 in the Texas senate.
According to the Associated Press, the bill enjoyed the strong support of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who “pushed lawmakers to help school districts provide teachers or other employees with special weapons and tactical response training.” Dewhurst’s pleas were echoed by smaller school districts that could not afford to hire police and other security forces for their schools.
Under the bill, trained teachers would keep a firearm in a lockbox “within immediate reach.” It allows one armed marshal per 400 students and contains provisions to hide the name of that marshal from public record, to keep him or her from being purposefully targeted in an attack.
Teachers’ groups opposed the bill, arguing that protection ought to be left to security professionals. Yet because Texas already allows teachers to carry guns where school boards approve, the arguments against the bill did not prevail.
Senator Brian Birdwell (R) said the concern over law-abiding citizens possessing guns on campus is misdirected: “The Second Amendment is not about the gun, it’s about the right to self-preservation.”