Committee Approves Senator White’s School Safety Bill

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The Senate Education Committee today (April 19) approved Senate Bill 383, legislation introduced by Senator Don White that would give school boards the option of allowing licensed and trained staff to carry firearms on school property.
SB 383, which was approved with a 9-3 bipartisan vote of the committee, would allow school personnel to have access to firearms in school safety zones if school districts establish proper guidelines and they are licensed to carry a concealed firearm and have met certain training requirements in the use and handling of firearms.

“Since I first introduced this proposal, there has been much discussion about what the measure does and how it relates to current Pennsylvania law,” Senator White said. “To be clear, this bill is not about the Second Amendment.  It’s about permitting the 500 school districts of this Commonwealth to have greater choices when it comes to protecting our most precious resource – our children.”

Senator White said the measure was proposed to him by Mark Zilinskas, a mathematics teacher with the Indiana Area School District, following a stabbing in the nearby Franklin Regional School District in April 2014.

“Time is a critical element when a violent incident occurs in a school,” Senator White said. “Many schools in rural areas rely on State Police coverage, which means response times can vary. Senate Bill 383 gives trained school personnel the opportunity to serve as first responders. There are thousands of armed teachers and administrators in schools across the country and there has never been an incident where they have shot the wrong person, had their weapons taken by a student, or used a weapon inappropriately.” 

Contact:          Joe Pittman     jpittman@pasen.gov