South Dakota Senate Committee Approves Concealed Carry in Schools

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School shootings, particularly mass shootings in schools, has got to be one of the nightmare scenarios for just about anyone with any kind of tie to a school. It was always in the back of my mind when my kids were in public school and I know many teachers at least have concerns.


Which is why I'm an advocate for allowing teachers to carry firearms if they so desire.

But, unfortunately, the law in many states prevent that, even in pretty pro-gun states.

One such state is South Dakota.

However, a committee there just passed a dose of sanity and sent it to the Senate floor.

South Dakota lawmakers are well known for opposing gun control laws. Now, a proposal aiming to relax policies for firearms in school settings is advancing in the legislature.


“It allows an individual who is 21 years of age or older, holds an enhanced permit to carry a pistol, and to have written permission from the principal of school or other person that has general control of that facility," [Prime sponsor, Sen. Brent] Hoffman said. "I’d like the committee to consider this policy as a last-chance, reactive measure for an armed response to a violent threat.”

The state’s education community questions just how effective this bill would be though. Doug Wermedal is executive director of the state Associated School Boards. He said SB203 only means more guns in schools.

“If bad actors are able to gain control of a law enforcement officers gun in a confrontational situation, then certainly it’s possible the control of a weapon could be lost to a bad actor," Wermedal said. "That will certainly present itself in our schools at some point and become more likely under this bill. What problems are we solving that is worth the additional risk?”

The difference is that law enforcement doesn't conceal their firearm. The bad guy knows exactly where it is and can get an idea how to obtain it during a struggle.


Concealed carry works a little differently, and that's what we're looking at with this measure. The bad guy won't even know if there's a gun most of the time.

But let's talk about Wermedal's last question: "What problems are we solving that is worth the additional risk?”

Well, let's start by referring to what I said about the supposedly additional risk. I should also note that a number of states already have some variation of law that allowed teachers and staff to carry a firearm. To my knowledge, there has never been an incident of a gun taken from an armed staff member.

So the risk doesn't appear to be that significant.

As for the threat, well, we have Parkland, Uvalde, Nashville, and Virginia Tech as stark reminders of what the threat actually looks like.

Oh, don't get me wrong, armed citizens can be useful for things well short of those kinds of atrocities, but those are the big things.

They're rare, I know, but when they happen, it's too late to adjust and deal with them. You need people in place who can do something about it long beforehand.

That's the threat and that's why it's a good thing this is going to the Senate as a whole.

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