In what activists called a victory for common-sense gun control reform, South Dakota became the first state since the massacre in a Newtown “gun-free zone” to adopt a law explicitly allowing trained teachers to carry weapons at school. Experts and supporters said the new law will help protect children and school staff in the state from potential mass-murderers. Gun rights activists, meanwhile, hope the measure signals a trend toward reasonable laws, as opposed to the wild assaults on the Second Amendment being sought by Obama and his allies.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican, signed the bill into law on March 8, earning widespread praise from across the country. While the governor said he did not think many schools would take advantage of the option to allow specially trained teachers or volunteers to be armed, he was quoted in media reports saying it was important that the choice be available. The law will go into effect July 1 of this year.
“I think it does provide the same safety precautions that a citizen expects when a law enforcement officer enters onto a premises,” Gov. Daugaard told the New York Times, referring to the myriad safeguards in the new law aimed at ensuring proper training for armed teachers and other personnel. The governor also said that the new measures were more restrictive than those in other states that already allow guns in schools.
The South Dakota law states: “Any school board may create, establish, and supervise the arming of school employees, hired security personnel, or volunteers in such manner and according to such protocols as the board may believe to be most likely to secure or enhance the deterrence of physical threat and defense of the school, its students, its staff, and members of the public on the school premises against violent attack.” Personnel authorized to carry firearms on campus are to be known as “school sentinels,” according to the legislation.
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