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North Dakota Uses Common Sense To Protect Schools From Shooters

The North Dakota House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow private citizens to bring guns into schools.

The bill was passed 53-38, and if made into law, would allow any North Dakota resident with a concealed carry license to bring their guns into schools, as long as they receive permission from the school. The schools would also be required to tell police who is authorized to carry weapons on campus.

Sponsor Dwight Kiefert argued on the House floor that allowing guns in schools could increase security against school shooters, especially in rural schools that would have to wait a long time for a police response.

“Most school shootings are over in five minutes. If you don’t have someone at the school, law enforcement’s role will only be an investigation,” Kiefert said, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

He also mocked the methods that are usually recommended for helping victims survive school shootings.

“Before you vote no, I’d ask you to maybe take one of these kids aside and explain to them the zigzag pattern to run to help increase their chances of survival,” he said, referring to a group of schoolchildren who were visiting the statehouse that day and were in the audience.

Another supporter, Rep. Christopher Olson, described the law as “a low-cost, old-fashioned, tried-and-true solution to security from bad actors.”

The move makes North Dakota the latest state to react to school shootings by trying to loosen its gun laws rather than tighten them. Neighboring South Dakota passed a law allowing guns in schools in 2013, and Wyoming’s House passed its own measure on Monday.

Kiefert wants to go farther, and is also pushing a bill that would spend about $1 million a year so that several small school districts can hire their own on-site security officers.

“Can we… say that if their school doesn’t have enough money, they’re not allowed to provide protection, and if their school hasn’t got enough money and a bad man shows up, all they can do is run and hide?” he said.

Education officials are less enthused, as several administrators and school board officials unsuccessfully fought to kill the bill.

It’s the second straight time the House has passed such legislation. It also did so in 2013, but the measure failed in the state Senate. In order to improve its odds this time around, Kiefert added a provision giving schools immunity for any incidents involving firearms, in order to prevent a school from being sued if somebody it allowed to bring a gun on-campus ended up harming somebody with it.

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