(In his latest report, Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, sings the praises of SB 75, sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown, R-Rolla, which would require Missouri teachers and school personnel to undergo yearly training on how to deal with shooters, and would require all Missouri first graders to take the NRA's Eddy Eagle gun safety program.)
Our Second Amendment rights, a topic of much discussion this legislative session, need to be protected and the values of our U.S. and Missouri constitutions need to be upheld.
At the same time, Missourians need to be educated on firearms safety and what to do if, heaven forbid, an armed individual intends to do harm. The tragedy in Connecticut weights heavy in all our hearts, and we need to prepare our teachers and students on how they can best protect themselves, should the unthinkable happen in our beloved state.
This week, as chair of the General Laws Committee, I heard testimony regarding SB 75<http://www.senate.mo.gov/13info/bills/sb075.htm>, which promotes firearms safety and education in our schools.
More specifically, the bill would establish the Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training for Schools Program. By July 1, 2014, Missouri school districts and charter schools would need to train teachers and school employees on how to respond to students with information about a threatening situation and how to address a potentially dangerous or armed intruder or active shooter in the school or on school property.
This type of training would be conducted each year. Initial training would be eight hours long; additional training would be four hours long. All school personnel would participate in a simulated active shooter and intruder response drill each year, conducted by law enforcement professionals. Program instructors must be certified by the Department of Public Safety's Peace Officers Standards Training Commission.
In addition, the bill would require school districts and charter schools to teach the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program every year to first-grade students, or use a substantially similar program. The purpose of the program is to promote the safety and protection of children and emphasize how students should respond if they encounter a firearm.
Firearms would be prohibited in the teaching of the program.
This bill supports our right to bear arms, while emphasizing the critical importance of gun safety. Every Missourian should know the basics of firearms safety. Let's say a family chooses not to keep guns in their home and their child has no regular exposure to firearms. That child can still go to a friend's house and encounter a gun, and if he or she is not educated on how to be safe, disastrous consequences can occur.
It's beneficial to Missouri that the bill addresses firearm safety in schools and how to react in the event of attack. It's sickening to think of an individual turning a gun towards innocent children and school staff, and my thoughts and prayers go out to those who have experienced such horrors. I pray no such atrocity occurs in Missouri; however, we need to be prepared to the best of our ability in case of attack.