Newly proposed legislation would ban guns entirely from California schools, putting an end to policies at a handful of campuses across the state that allow certain teachers to carry weapons – including Kingsburg Joint Union High School District.
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, introduced Assembly Bill 424 on Monday, which would remove school superintendents’ authority to allow some concealed weapon permit holders to possess a gun on campus despite laws that otherwise forbid guns from school zones.
Last year, the Kingsburg Joint Union High School District approved a policy that allows up to five employees, chosen by the superintendent, to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds. Leaders of the small district in Kingsburg, which enrolls about 1,200 students, say it is the proactive response to school shootings across the country in recent years.
AB 424 would eliminate this loophole, reducing the number of guns on school campuses, making school campuses safer and fulfilling the original intent of California’s Gun Free School Zones law.
Statement from assembly member Kevin McCarty
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Kingsburg Joint Union Superintendent Randy Morris said Monday he hopes that the bill does not pass, and said that the district’s gun policy has not caused any problems since it was passed last April. Morris would not say if he carries a gun at school, and said the identity of employees who do is kept confidential.
“I think it’s a mistake not to let districts make decisions that are in their own best interest,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for everyone, but each individual district should have the right to make that decision.”
But in a statement Monday, McCarty said the loophole for superintendents increases the risk of a school shooting.
“A safe learning environment is essential for our children to be successful in the classroom. That’s not possible if a school district allows armed civilians to roam California school campuses,” McCarty said. “I’m proud to author AB 424 and will continue to lead California’s efforts to keep guns out of our schools.”
Other districts that allow guns on campus include Folsom Cordova Unified, Anderson Union and Kern County schools.
AB 424 will be considered by the Assembly in the spring.