Governor’s budget plan would pay to arm teachers in MS schools

HERANDO, Miss. — It is a story FOX13 News has been following for months: Guns for teachers and employees in Mississippi schools.

In a new budget proposal, Gov. Tate Reeves plans to earmark millions of dollars to pay for it.

FOX13 took a look at what impact it could have and talked to an active shooting training expert about the proposal.

Reeves’ proposal would allow the state to provide the guns, ammunition and training for school guardians.

Seven states have laws allowing teachers and employees to carry guns in school if the districts approve. This list includes Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, South Dakota, Wyoming and Florida.

The law in Florida adopted after the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

School staff in Florida have to pass 132 hours of firearms safety, 12 hours of diversity training and a psychiatric exam before being allowed to carry.

”The plus side to that is that old saying, ‘When seconds count, cops can sometimes be minutes away.’” said Alex Coker, who has 20 years of law enforcement experience and served 10 years in the Army.

He works as a trainer in active shooting situations.

”The downside is that you could have someone accidentally discharge, leaving weapons unattended or when they are coming to save the day trying to take out the threat and make that accurate shot. You go from being a hero to a zero, because you missed and you hit little Susie or Johnny. We have to worry about that as well.”

The Giffords Law Center, which tracks gun violence in the U.S., reported more than 100 incidents in five years where guns were mishandled by staff and teachers who were there to protect.

Reeves’s plan calls for those acting as guardians to be nominated by the local school board.

Coker said that he won’t take sides but added that if the program happens, not everyone who has a permit should be allowed to carry in schools.

”It should be reviewed by a review board and a police department and we should know who is carrying and who is not,” Coker said.