This morning Senator Mark Christensen and the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association (NFOA) held a press conference announcing a bold plan that will save thousands of tax dollars if the Unicameral passes Christensen’s LB879 bill. The bill would create a more advanced, second tier in Nebraska’s concealed handgun permit program and allow individual school districts to authorize the concealed carry of firearms by teachers or staff who have completed both Level I and Level II training.
Senator Christensen explained that small rural school districts don’t have the budget to pay police officers to work as school resource officers like some of the better funded, larger urban school districts. He continued to explain that there are rural Nebraska communities like his with limited local law enforcement personnel spread over large areas and some of them have response times of up to half an hour or longer. He explained the purpose of his bill is to protect our school children by filling in that gap.
CNN reported last December’s Arapahoe High School shooting in Centennial, CO resulting in the death of one student was ended in less than 80 seconds. Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson noted that the rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of an armed school resource officer at the school. In contrast, The Columbine High School Massacre in 1999 had an impressive police response time of less than 5 minutes to arrive at the school, yet the killing continued for nearly 50 minutes leaving 13 murdered and 24 injured.
“This bill isn’t suggesting issuing every school employee a firearm like many anti-gun opponents will claim,” Christensen continued. “My bill merely allows individual school districts to evaluate their threat response times and consider authorizing their teachers or staff to carry concealed if they decide that would protect their students. Having the ability to arm teachers or staff to protect students may not be necessary for urban school districts near Omaha or Lincoln that have multiple, large law enforcement departments, but this first line of defense could save children’s lives in Nebraska’s many rural communities, like mine.”
Christensen emphasized that this school safety program and Level II concealed handgun training would be on a volunteer basis for school employees, and would require the approval by the local school boards before being authorized to carry concealed on school property. Having armed teachers or staff would not only provide a quicker response to stop an active shooter, but they would also serve as a deterrent to a criminal considering breaking into a school to harm our children.
“As a country, we’ve mourned the loss of too many of our children in school shootings,” added NFOA President Rodney Moeller, “Now is the time to take steps to prevent these tragedies from happening and immediately stop them if they do happen. If we examine recent public shootings, both in schools and other so-called ‘gun free zones’, the rampages are generally stopped in one of two ways: when a trained good guy with a gun shoots the armed bad guy or the armed bad guy gives up and commits suicide once he runs into the trained good guy with a gun. The sooner we can have well-trained good guys with guns respond to stop the armed bad guys, the more children we will save. It’s that simple. So, the responsible firearms owners of the NFOA have offered to privately subsidize the training of school employees authorized by their local school district to take the Level II concealed handgun training. This private funding by the NFOA and its members could save Nebraska taxpayers thousands of dollars in instructing school teachers and staff to be the ‘well-trained good guys’.”
Contact your senator now and urge them to support LB879.