Senators vote against guns in school

State Sens. Chuck McIlhinney and Tommy Tomlinson voted against measure that allows teachers to carry firearms on school property

The Times

State Sens. Chuck McIlhinney and Tommy Tomlinson last week voted against a measure that would give school boards the authority to allow teachers to carry firearms on school property.

Senate Bill 383 was designed to help improve school safety by allowing teachers to possess a firearm with school board approval. McIlhinney expressed concerns that the measure would not make schools or students any safer and could eventually lead to a tragedy.

Photo: State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney

“I appreciate the fact that my colleagues are exploring every avenue to protect students, but I have more questions than answers about this proposal. I’m concerned that we are setting ourselves up for some very serious consequences,” McIlhinney said. “We ask enough of our teachers. We don’t need to turn them into security guards.”

Specifically, McIlhinney questioned the potential consequences of a teacher misplacing a weapon, how firearms could be stored in a way that prevents loss or theft, and how teachers and first responders would respond in an emergency situation.

“There are plenty of safe, effective ways in which a school district can create a nonviolent environment, including working with local police departments and hiring trained security personnel. I worry that arming school personnel and teachers is the wrong approach,” McIlhinney said.

The bill passed, 28–22, and heads to the House. Gov. Tom Wolf opposes it. ••