SC bill would let public school employees carry guns

By Nikki

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV)Forget about chalk-toting teachers. Guns could become a part of the classroom if one lawmaker gets his way.

Representative Phillip Lowe of Florence pre-filed a bill Tuesday that would allow public school workers to carry a gun on school grounds.

Lowe says if this bill becomes law, potential shooters would hopefully think twice before trying to take an innocent life.

"It's time to do something," said Lowe.

In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut where 20 children and six school employees lost their lives, Lowe believes it's time to take action even if it's controversial.

"Right now a school is a gun free zone and a deranged person knows that, so they go there to inflict the most pain," said Lowe.

Under his proposed bill, a school employee would have to have a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun with them on school campus. They would have to keep the gun on them at all times.

"Once they got their license they have to go to the principal, put in a written notice that they're going to carry a weapon," said Lowe.

Mike Turner serves as the security coordinator for Dorchester County District 2 and isn't sure if the bill would do more harm than good.

"It may be a very well intended bill that just has too many unknowns to be a good law," said Turner.

Turner says the deadly school shooting has prompted the district to re-evaluate their own crisis plans.

"We're looking over what is currently in place-with electronic locks, the cameras, the school resource officers," said Turner.

As for parents, Lowe's idea has left them split...

"More innocent people may get hurt. I mean you could have a good gun battle between a teacher and somebody," said parent, Sharon Jenkins.

Jason Cox, the father of a two-year-old boy, views the issue differently.

"If something happened, my son's going to be in a class with a teacher that's carryingso I'd feel a lot more safe than I do now," said Cox.

While Lowe says his bill isn't an instant cure, it's, at least, he says a start in the right direction.

"If that guy comes in with a gun and has to worry about someone shooting back at him, maybe he'll choose another location," said Lowe.

Lowe's bill also requires employees to prove their marksmanship every two years through SLED.

If an employee has a history of violence or unmanaged anger, the bill would keep them from carrying a firearm.