The Sentinel Program Discussion Continues
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
February 23, 2013 6:37 PM
Arming school employees is still the hot topic of discussion Saturday night between South Dakota Legislators. After December’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Were 26 were murdered, legislators are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen here.
To arm, or not to arm, that’s the question HB 1087 South Dakota lawmakers are faced with.
"It's something to allow schools to maybe set up a different layer of protection where police may not be as readily available,” said State Rep. Herman Otten.
If passed, the bill would give school boards the option to arm its employees.
"Making sure the guns are in the hands of those who know how to handle it, and are responsible with it,” said Rep. Marc Feinstein.
Rep. Feinstein said he questions the bill all together.
"Is that the appropriate reaction we need to take is lets buy more guns just because we have more gun violence in schools,” asked Feinstein.
Feinstein said even though school employees who volunteer to be armed would be required to do a certain amount of training, in the end, it may not make a difference.
"It isn't just because you have the training your able to go out and react appropriately," said Feinstein.
He said even the most trained can make mistakes.
But Rep. Herman Otten said the bill would give rural schools a chance to protect themselves like larger school districts.
"In our bigger cities, we forget what’s its like when we get up north or out west, and they have a completely different situation,” said Otten.
Otten said what he wants people to remember though, is this bill is only a small piece of the school safety puzzle.
"We do have armed personal in our schools today, as much as people don’t want to say that, or agree to that,” said Otten. “They say well its a police man, well it is a police man, but it is still an armed personal.”
A piece of the puzzle that other lawmakers don’t agree with.
"We are a hunting state. I'm all in favor of the second amendment and people's rights to own guns, but they have to be the right people,” said Feinstein.
The bill was passed in a senate committee Friday 5-4. It will be on the senate floor for discussion and vote sometime this week.