AUGUSTA (AP) — A Maine state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry concealed firearms at school, but the bill raised questions Wednesday among legislative leaders.
Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, said he’s been thinking of similar legislation for about a year, but decided to advance his proposal in response to the deaths of 20 students and six educators at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school on Dec. 14.
Burns’ bill would require school employees carrying concealed guns to take a firearms training course and undergo a psychological exam. It would also require the approval of the local school board, superintendent and principal, as well as the notification of parents. But the policy wouldn’t be mandatory.
The bill sponsored by Burns, a retired state police trooper, would also give school districts the authority to hire armed security guards.
Democrats, who hold legislative majorities, raised several questions about Burns’ bill during their weekly press briefing, but said it will get a full review.
“What happens if a gun is left lying around?” said Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, the House majority leader. “Is it properly the role of a teacher who is trained to do other things to do law enforcement?” He also questioned whether school employees would be able to find the time for required training.
Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond said, “We have other ways of addressing the problem” of firearms violence.