Legislation would create school marshal program to protect kids
Jan. 31, 2013
By Katy Grimes
SACRAMENTO — Planes have armed air marshals. How about armed school marshals?
Last week Assemblyman Tim Donnelly told me about his plan to offer legislation to create a voluntary school marshal program, modeled after the highly successful air marshals program. Donnelly said the idea is to have teachers fully trained and qualified to carry concealed weapons, but not let anyone know which teachers have gone through the training. That way, potential killers would never know which teachers are armed, and which unarmed.
On Wednesday, Donnelly formally introduced Assembly Bill 202, which would create a school marshal program to ensure the safety of children in California’s classrooms. The proposal is not as sweeping as he originally intended but it grants power and decision making to local school districts and informs and educates people of existing law.
“We simply authorize use of existing general funds for additional training, and the designation as ‘School Marshal’ grants,” Donnelly said. ”In light of recent tragedies involving violent intruders in our classrooms, we have a moral imperative to protect the children in our schools. We must do so without abandoning our oath and duty to safeguard the constitutional rights of every Californian. AB 202 will help us accomplish both.”
Recent tragedies spark reactions
President Barack Obama offered a 23-point gun control plan following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. But Donnelly said the president is politicizing the issue in order to impose an anti-Second Amendment agenda. Ironically, nothing currently proposed by the president would have prevented the tragedy, or any of the other recent attacks on innocent people. Donnelly said all the president’s plan will do is make it more expensive and more difficult for law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Existing state law, the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1995, already authorizes local school districts to permit teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom if all requirements are met.
“We should be celebrating the incredibly heroic teacher, Vicki Soto, instead of focusing on taking guns away from citizens,” Donnelly said. While protecting students at Sandy Hook, Soto was killed. “In light of the incredible bravery and selfless heroism of teachers like Vicki Soto, it would be morally wrong to leave the next teacher confronted by a deranged killer defenseless. We should be holding criminals accountable, not guns.”
The co-authors of AB 202 include Sen. Steve Knight, R-Antelope Valley, and Assembly Members Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield; Curt Hagman, R-Chino Hills; Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point; Brian Jones, R-Santee; and Don Wagner, R-Irvine.
“The bill will simply allow school districts to fund the necessary training to faculty and staff who are already legally allowed to protect their school,” Donnelly added.
Donnelly has filed papers to explore a run for governor in 2014. “I have decided to open an exploratory committee to run for governor of California, because there’s nobody out there fighting for us,” he told me recently.
May 19, 2013