Proposed bill would allow concealed guns in private schools

Proposed bill would allow concealed guns in private schools (Reporter: Amanda Brannon)

GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - State lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow private school employees to carry concealed weapons on campus.

The bill was introduced in the Senate in late February.

Currently, only sworn in law enforcement officers are allowed to carry guns on private school campuses.

NewsChannel 12 spoke with Rob Peterson, the director of The Oakwood School in Greenville, about the proposed bill.

"I see this particular bill as a radical outlier type of situation. I don't think it is a healthy direction for us to be going," Peterson said.

The plan comes from Senator Stan Bingham (R-Davidson).

If passed, private school directors or board of trustees would be able to decide who could carry a concealed gun on campus. However, according to the bill, all carriers must have a permit.

Peterson said the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December has sparked concern among parents.

Even so, he hopes his school's no gun policy will remain in tact.  

"One parent even called me and said 'would you be willing to learn how to shoot a gun and carry a gun?' and I said 'this is the last thing an educational environment should move towards,'" Peterson said.

However, Chad Brodeur, wouldn't mind seeing extra protection at his son's school. He has a sixth grader at Christ Covenant School in Winterville.

"I think in the case of schools to keep them safe and not have another Connecticut type issue that if you had someone there that was licensed to use it and knew what they were doing, it keeps all the kids safe and with my kid being there, I'd be totally fine with it," Brodeur said.

Brodeur said he would be surprised if parents were against having guns in the schools. When asked why, he replied, "because most parents want their kid safe."

Peterson said he understands, yet he feels like his campus is more safe without guns.

"I think all of us are much more conscious of our safety program and wanting to ensure that all of our students are as secure and safe as possible," Peterson said.

Senator Bingham said this bill is still in the discussion stages among lawmakers. However, he hopes to have a roundtable discussion about this by the end of next week.

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