***Note: this bill has been substituted, this analysis may no longer be valid***
Times certainly have changed when it comes to school safety, and certainly not for the better. We live in an age where “active shooter” is a part of our vocabulary and it seems that we can not go a week without news of a mass shooting. Even more unfortunate, schools are no longer immune from such tragedies.
Senator Todd Weiler (Republican – Woods Cross) is taking a reactionary approach to the issue with SB 43 – Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention in Public Schools.
The bill authorizes the creation of a pilot program to educate 8th graders on firearm safety, teach kids on how to respond when they are made aware of a threat, and engage in active shooter preparedness.
[pullquote]Senator Todd Weiler (Republican – Woods Cross) has a proposal to protect our children from mass shootings while in school with SB 43, but is the legislature missing the bigger picture?[/pullquote]The classes are opt-in and require parental consent; furthermore, no actual firearms would be used in presentations. To ensure that education is appropriate and responsive, the Attorney General’s Office and the State Board of Education will sign off on the training materials.
Finally, the pilot program is slated for a one-time cost of $75,000 – though if the program is successful, no doubt the state will direct more funds to the program down the road.
It seems sad that Weiler’s proposal seems practical and even somewhat necessary in our society – but here we are. Though such gun safety training would most likely be useful for the average student, it seems that the legislature is missing out on the opportunity to have a discussion about gun control and the prevention of mass shootings in the first place.
Of course, that discussion is far larger than the confines of one bill, or even a suite of legislation – it requires a shift in tone that can be magically fixed with new laws on the book. But, perhaps, the legislature will take this bill as a sign that something beyond reaction is necessary to prevent students from needing this training in the first place.
To contact Senator Weiler, click here or call 801-599-9823 (Home/Cell).
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