School Boards React to Gun Control Proposal from Senator
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools official said Thursday gun regulation is not a function of public schools. The comment comes in reaction to State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, who is calling on Missouri lawmakers to enact gun safety regulations in response to gun violence the previous year.
Senate Bill 124 requires a parent or guardian enrolling a child in school to notify the school district or the governing body of a private or charter school that the parent or guardian owns a firearm.
In a news release, Chappelle-Nadal said, "In most cases, the guns have been stolen from an unsecured plane in the home and then used in robberies, car-jackings and even murder. In one instance two kids were playing with a loaded gun they found in the home and one of them was accidentally killed. In two other cases the students took the guns to school."
Chief communication officer for Missouri School Board Association, Brent Ghan, said hiring additional resource officers would be most effective. He said the intent of the senator is good, but that schools do not have the resources or personnel to support or carry through with the extra paperwork.
Columbia Public Schools has a no tolerance gun policy on its campuses. Michelle Baumstark, community relations coordinator said, "I don't know that public school is really the entity to provide information on gun safety. In Columbia Public Schools, guns are banned on campus. They are banned from teachers having it, banned from students having it. It would be a violation of safe and drug free schools to have guns on campus."
Chappelle-Nadal said in her release, "I simply want to make sure that children do not have easy access to guns...there are reasonable things we can do as a society to reduce the incidences of gun violence without infringing on anybody's right to keep and bear arms. "
"Actually that really isn't a function of public schools to regulate gun ownership," said Baumstark. "I do get the premise for what they are trying to accomplish with that. Although it puts another mandate on schools that really isn't the function of what public schools are."
The senate bill says that a parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 commits an offense by recklessly storing or leaving a firearm in a manner that is likely to result in the child accessing the firearm, if the child obtains access to the firearm and unlawfully carries it to school, kills or injures another person with it or commits a crime with it. The offense would be a Class A misdemeanor unless the child kills or injures another person, in which case it would be a Class D felony.