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Learning Under Fire: Why Are Kentucky Lawmakers Allowing More Guns in Schools?

January 26, 2018

“She couldn’t say anything, and I tried to call her name over and over and over, and she never responded.”

This is how Bailey Holt’s mother described what would be her last phone call to her 15-year-old daughter after a fellow student opened fire at their Marshall County High School on Tuesday. Bailey, and her schoolmate Preston Ryan Cope, were shot and killed, while 18 others were injured. This was the third school shooting to occur in two days, and at least the tenth school shooting of the year.

While the country continues to reel from these tragedies, some Kentucky lawmakers are using this tragedy as an opportunity to further the gun lobby’s agenda of “guns everywhere, for anyone, no questions asked.”

On the day of the Benton shooting, lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 103, which would create a new exception to Kentucky’s law that prohibits guns in elementary, middle schools and high schools, allowing “school marshals” to carry guns in certain circumstances. A bill that would have forced guns into K-12 schools was initially introduced last year and faced opposition from law enforcement officials, who argued that more armed people in schools could potentially endanger bystanders during an active shooter scene due to lack of proper training.

What’s more, lawmakers introduced another similarly dangerous bill last week. House Bill 210 includes a combination of deadly policies which would force guns on public college campuses, force guns into public hearings and government buildings, and could even weaken the state’s current restrictions on guns in K-12 schools.

It is troubling that legislators continue to push forcing guns in sanctuaries of learning, where firearms have historically been prohibited. Kentucky students deserve to attend college without questioning whether the person next to them is pulling a book or gun out of their bag. It’s time state lawmakers use their resources to prioritize public safety instead of undermining it.

If you’re interested in learning more about SB 103 and HB 210, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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