As the push for allowing teachers to decide if they want to carry firearms in schools continues, some states are facing a financial hurdle that lawmakers and supporters of the move may not have considered. Insurance companies are raising prices or are threatening to pull coverage altogether if teachers decide to carry.
In a report from NBC News, after Kansas passed a law in 2013 allowing teachers to carry a firearm on campus, an insurance company that covers many of the state’s schools said it would no longer do so if teachers decided to bring their guns into classrooms.
Kansas passed a law in 2013 that allowed members of school staff to be armed after the Sandy Hook massacre claimed the lives of 20 elementary school children. But five years later, no Kansas school employee has legally brought a gun onto a public K-12 campus.
What the state lawmakers didn’t expect, perhaps, was the response from EMC Insurance Companies, a liability insurance company that covers most Kansas school districts.
EMC immediately sent out a letter to its agents in response to the prospect that districts could legally allow teachers to be armed on their campuses.
“EMC has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises pose a heightened liability risk,” their letter read. “Because of this increased risk, we have chosen not to insure schools that allow employees to carry concealed handguns.”
“We are making this underwriting decision simply to protect the financial security of our company,” they concluded.
According to NBC News, the amount schools pay to insurance companies would skyrocket as the school will be forced to pay more per teacher carrying a firearm.
It costs schools an additional $1,500 for each armed individual who has military training or equivalent experience, is a member of a city or county law enforcement agency and is certified by the Department of Public Safety Standards. For those with just the department’s certification, coverage is $2,500 more per person.
The new plan was not an opinion on arming school staff, the association said in the structure’s explanation. “Rather our intent is to help reduce the liability exposure to the Pool arising out of the use of armed personnel.”
To combat the problem, lawmakers in Kansas are considering a law that would prevent insurance companies from withdrawing coverage.
The state of Oregon, however, has made their decision to allow teachers to arm themselves work as “the Oregon School Board Association, which provides insurance coverage for most of the state’s schools, announced a new pricing structure for K-12 schools that decided to use armed personnel on their campuses.”
While this may pose a problem for some states, others continue to support the idea regardless of the ramifications. For example, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a bill that will allow teachers to carry if they are willing to do so.