Local Lawmakers Weigh in on Arming Teachers with Guns - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Local Lawmakers Weigh in on Arming Teachers with Guns

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After last week's school shooting in Florida, there is now a growing push to arm teachers with handguns.

President Donald Trump has expressed his support, but what about local lawmakers?

"I am adamantly opposed to that,” said State Rep. Pat Harkins, of Erie, (D) 1st District.  “I don't feel it's the right thing to do."

"I support it under the right circumstances,” said State Rep. Curt Sonney, of Harborcreek Township, (R) 4th District.  “Obviously, every school district is different, and every teacher is different.”

"At the end of the day, I'm against it,” said State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, of Millcreek Township, (D) 3rd District.  “But if that's what these districts want to do, I'm going to have to respect that decision."

"I think it should be an option,” said Senator Dan Laughlin, (R) 49th District.  “We voted for that in the Senate this year, and we took a little bit of grief over that vote."

Senator Laughlin is referring to Senate Bill 383, which Senate passed last June.  It would allow teachers to carry handguns.  The House is expected to vote on the bill, next month.

"Some of the more urban districts have a police force and there's districts out in the county that don't, that are probably a half an hour away from a state police car showing up,” said Sen. Laughlin.  “I think those kids need to be protected in some fashion as well."

"If we are going to do anything in PA, I don't think it should be a mandate from the legislature,” said Rep. Bizzarro.  “I think we should allow districts to work together with the superintendent and respective school board members to create a policy that works best for their area."

"Obviously, this is a big topic of discussion,” said Rep. Sonney.  “Like everything else, it starts with a discussion, so everybody is looking for action, and I believe that action is going to come, and it is going to come rather soon."

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