Pennsylvania’s Senate passed legislation on June 28 to allow teachers and staff to be armed on K-12 campuses to defend themselves and the children in their classrooms.
According to the Associated Press, the legislation, which passed by a 28-22 vote, “was backed by 26 Republicans and two Democrats.” Opposition to allowing teachers to be armed for self-defense came from 14 Philadelphia Democrats and “eight Republicans from southeastern Pennsylvania districts.”
The legislation stipulates a school “employee … [with] access to a firearm on school grounds would be required to have a concealed carry license, pass a psychological evaluation and meet certain firearms training requirements.”
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Don White (R-Indiana), who said that while he does not know how many districts would take advantage of the opportunity to arm teachers, at least the possibility of doing it would give teachers a fighting chance when under attack. White said, “I just want to give them the opportunity and as many tools as possible to protect children.”
Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) was one of the Democrats who opposed the legislation. She argued that having guns in school would not have prevented the Sandy Hook Elementary School attack or cut the attack short. She read a letter on the Senate floor from Sandy Hook Elementary educators who shared her position.
Hillary Clinton took a similar approach when running for president in 2016. She opposed allowing teachers to be armed for self-defense, and her campaign used an email from a family member of a slain Sandy Hook staff member to justify keeping teachers defenseless. The email was from Erica Smegielski, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, a brave, unarmed woman who sacrificed her life by charging the Sandy Hook gunman hoping to tackle him or otherwise frustrate his attack.
Smegielski stood with Clinton in the fight to ensure other principals remained unarmed as well.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.