On March 8, South Dakota passed a law overtly authorizing school employees to carry guns under a measure signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard. The passing of this law is now fueling the nationwide debate even more after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary where 20 first graders died last December. Shortly after the shooting, legislation proposed a plan to allow school personnel to carry guns in about a dozen states.
South Dakota is currently the only state with a statute that specifically authorizes teachers to carry a firearm in a K-12 school. However, the law leaves it up to the school districts to decide whether or not to arm teachers.
South Dakota is a state where children begin shooting BB guns when they are just 8, and shooting shotguns by 14.
“Our kids start hunting here when they’re preteens,” said Kevin Jensen, who supports the bill and is the vice president of the Canton School Board in South Dakota. “We know guns. We respect guns.”
Supporters of this measure think this plan is important to have in schools who live 30 to 45 mins away from a local emergency responders.
Don Kirkegaard, superintendent of Meade School District agreed that although some schools are isolated, he did not see any evidence to suggest that they would be safer if teachers were armed.
Many people would be more comfortable providing resources to districts to hire law enforcement for schools instead of training teachers who will not be able to fully protect the students. In an online survey of 10,661 teachers and administrators from all 50 states conducted in late January, nearly three in four educators said they would be unlikely to bring firearm to school if allowed to do so.