ANDERSON, Calif. – A California school district will continue to allow employees to carry concealed weapons on school campuses, despite a new state law and executive actions by President Obama to restrict guns.
The Anderson Union High School District currently allows specific staff members to carry concealed weapons at the Anderson Union, Anderson New Technology, North Valley and West Valley high schools, KRCR reports.
California lawmakers approved Senate Bill 707 to prohibit “a person from possessing a firearm in a place that the person knows, or reasonably should know, is a school zone, unless with the written permission of certain school officials,” according to the news site.
In Anderson, district officials formally gave approval for some teachers and staff with permits to carry a concealed weapon to continue to do so, a move supported by the local law enforcement.
“It is definitely a pro to have people armed, responsible people armed who have been vetted and can actually provide another layer of protection for the kids,” Anderson Police Chief Mike Johnson told KRCR. “That’s the bottom line, if it provides more protection for our children, how can you be against it?”
Johnson said he recommended to district officials they continue to allow employees to pack heat, but it was district officials who ultimately made the determination.
“We need the help of the citizens, we need communities to participate. This is the same type of concept,” Johnson said. “The community is the school now and we need the help of the people and staff at the school to help protect the kids.”
Johnson’s comments echo numerous other law enforcement officials who have spoken out in recent weeks to encourage residents to obtain concealed weapons permits as a first line of defense against terrorists.
Just last month, sheriffs in Indiana and Florida urged residents who qualify to apply for a permit, and to obtain training on how to properly handle a handgun, The American Mirror reports.
“Let there be no mistake in what I am about to say … the only thing that stops a bad buy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Brevard County, Florida sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a 7 minute video posted to Facebook Dec. 7. “If you are a person who is legally licensed to carry a firearm, now is the time more than ever to realize that you and you alone may very well be the first line of defense for you, your family, and others around you in a terrorist or active shooter based scenario.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig also highlighted in December how the high gun ownership rate in his city deters terrorists, who tend to target areas of least resistance.
“A lot of Detroiters have CPLs (concealed pistol licenses), and the same rules apply to terrorists as they do to some gun-toting thug,” Craig told The Detroit News. “If you’re a terrorist, or a carjacker, you want unarmed citizens.”
Johnson and school officials in Anderson seem to understand that concept, though the police chief said not all school employees who obtain a concealed weapons permit should tote guns to school.
“Just because someone is a CCW holder doesn’t make them the right person to be armed on campus,” he said. “When there’s high stress scenarios going on, people who are in possession of firearms have a huge responsibility, and they have to know how to act and what laws and parameters they can act in and protect.”
Regardless, Johnson said he believes that arming some school employees is a route more districts should consider to ensure student safety.
“Initially, I think it’s absolutely the step in the right direction,” he told KRCR. “I’ve advocated for several years that a lot of these campuses, and college campuses in particular, should have armed people on campus and should have CCW holders wat least with access to weapons if they need them.”