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Kansas "Safer Act" Proposes Conceal Carry in Schools - KOAM TV 7

Kansas "Safer Act" Proposes Conceal Carry in Schools

Updated:
BAXTER SPRINGS, KANSAS -

A Kansas House hearing was held today on the SAFER Act, which would open the door of arming teachers and staff with conceal carry guns.  But there would be stipulations.  The bill also proposes "presumption of negligence" by school districts that wouldn't allow conceal carry.

"I would say I trust my teachers if they were allowed to have concealed carry," says Baxter Springs High School senior Max Sheffer.

"...just in case our resource officer wasn't here and he wasn't able to protect us or anything," says Baxter Springs High School freshman Ben Sneed.

"Honestly, I have mixed emotions about it," says Baxter Springs High School senior Caylor Gipson.  "I think it could be a learning distraction if you have a teacher if the classroom with a gun."

Preventing future school shootings after watching horrific aftermaths of several others.

"Knee-jerk reactions to try and prevent that sometimes have their own repercussions," says Baxter Springs Schools Superintendent David Pendergraft.

Pendergraft doesn't support the current form of Kansas' SAFER Act.

"I feel more comfortable partnering with law enforcement.  But if teachers were approved to be armed, I think training would be the number one priority," says Pendergraft.

The SAFER Act calls for teachers wanting to conceal carry having to pay for handgun training and safety courses.  Pendergraft still worries about how any possible additional costs would affect school districts.

"You can't put a price on the life of a child," says Pendergraft.  "But at the same time, we have to be very responsible for our tax dollars."

The SAFER Act also says insurance companies wouldn't be allowed to refuse coverage on school districts that allow conceal carry, nor could insurance companies charge unfair premiums and fees.  Pendergraft is skeptical how this law would be enforced.

"I'm pretty sure insurance companies don't go into it to lose money.  I don't think they could stay open very long if they did," says Pendergraft.

Kansas legislators will, of course, continue their debate on the bill.

"I would want training, background checks, evaluations, stuff like that," says Baxter Springs High School senior Jace Flood.  "They need to go through simulations.  What would their actions be?  What would they do?"

Kansas students won't remember a time when there wasn't such a debate.

The Kansas House Committee on Insurance heard debate on the bill today.  No further action has yet been listed (as of this publication).  

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