Fight Over Guns in Schools Returns to D.C., States

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Andrew McDaniel is a rural legislator from gun-loving Missouri. When he heard Betsy DeVos, the new U.S. Secretary of Education, had suggested that schools might need guns to protect children from grizzly bear attacks, the self-described “country boy” laughed. “In my state, I don’t believe we have grizzly bears,” he said. McDaniel agrees with DeVos that there are good reasons for local schools to allow gun carrying, or even have guns on hand. His reasoning: not “potential grizzlies”, but the Constitution, The Guardian reports. “If taxpayer dollars are funding a facility … you should be able to exercise your Second Amendment right to carry,” he said. Elementary schools and college campuses have become the new fronts in the battle over gun laws. A series of devastating school shootings has only propelled efforts to make it easier to carry guns at school and on campus.

Last year, gun control advocates defeated legislation in 15 states that would have allowed more guns into K-12 schools, says the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. This year, proposed legislation is back in nine states. The fight over guns in schools is heating up in Washington. “We haven’t had to worry about guns in schools at the federal level for the last eight years, because we knew we had a president in office who did not support this,” said Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action. Now that reassurance is gone. A year ago Donald Trump pledged, “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools.” He later partially walked back that pledge, but Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has introduced a bill to scale back the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, arguing that barring guns from schools “makes people less safe by inviting criminals into target-rich, no-risk environments.” Data suggests that school children are much more likely to be shot to death outside of school, in their homes or neighborhoods.

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