In the wake of last month’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a Washington County lawmaker is proposing that Maine teachers and others be allowed to carry guns in school.
State Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, has submitted a bill that would allow qualified school district employees to carry concealed weapons on campus.
Burns did not immediately return calls seeking comment Saturday night.
According to a release from Maine Senate Republicans, Burns has been considering the bill since a police officer asked him to consider similar legislation a year and a half ago. He decided to present the bill after the Newtown, Conn., shooting in which 20 first-graders and six staffers were killed.
Burns is a retired Maine State Police trooper and his two sons are troopers, according to his Maine Senate Republicans Web page.
The bill, which has not yet been printed, includes strict guidelines, according to the release. Among those guidelines: Those who want to carry a gun must complete a firearms training course, attain certification, complete an annual recertification and undergo a psychological exam. Both the training course and the psychological exam must be equivalent to those required of law enforcement.
The school board, superintendent and principal would also have to approve anyone who wants to carry a concealed weapon. Those school officials and local law enforcement officers would be the only ones allowed to know who is bringing a gun to school.
“Individuals who are sick enough to shoot a child are unlikely to respect any new or existing firearms law that we pass,” Burns said in the news release. “The only way to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy is to make sure that our schools are not defenseless.”
The proposed legislation also would allow school districts to hire retired, formerly full-time police officers with current firearms certification as armed school security.
After it’s submitted, the bill will likely go before the Education Committee before being considered by the full Legislature.