House Bill 35, introduced by Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, would allow local school systems to designate one or more employees in each school to carry a firearm.
Rep. Eddie Lumsden, R-Rome, is a part of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee that approved the bill last week.
“A lot of serious questions have been asked, and some language has been changed from the original bill,” he said. “But the intent is still intact — local school systems have options on how they want to deal with allowing guns inside schools.”
Under current law, schools are weapon-free zones with only very limited exceptions. Following the events that occurred in Newtown, Conn., in December and other recent high-profile instances of guns in schools, Lumsden said the outcry from voters to tackle the subject was loud and clear.
Those who are selected to possess a gun on school grounds would have to meet some training criteria and pass a background check according to the bill.
“This is not something school systems are being required to do,” Lumsden said. “It gives them the option to do this.”
Battles has said this is a cost-saving measure intended to help those school systems that cannot afford to hire police or school resource officers.
Lumsden and other local state legislators discussed the issue of guns in schools with local school boards before the current General Assembly session began.
A public hearing on the bill, as well as other legislation currently being considered, is set for Monday at 2 p.m. in the Coverdell Legislative Office Building in Atlanta across from the Capitol.