Last week, the Mississippi Board of Education voted to scrap a long-standing policy banning schoolteachers and staff from being armed for the purposes of defending K-12 schools. AWR Hawkins of Breitbart News noted that this policy has been in effect in Mississippi for 30 years.
Per a FOX News report, “Following killings at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School, a July Fourth parade near Chicago and an Indiana mall, the Mississippi Board of Education voted last week to update a 1990 internal policy that prohibited anyone other than law enforcement from carrying guns on public school campuses.”
In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press, the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Safe and Orderly Schools Director Brian McGairty laid out how this decision allows for schools to comply with an enhanced carry law passed more than ten years ago.
McGairty stated that the K-12 prohibition on “the possession of pistols, firearms, or weapons in any form by any person other than duly authorized law enforcement officials on school premises or at school functions” violates the enhanced carry law.
He continued, “We simply complied with the state law that’s been in effect for the last 11 years.”
Mississippi Department of Education General Counsel Erin Meyer remarked:
“This rule currently conflicts with Mississippi’s enhanced carry statutes, so the enhanced carry statute authorizes individuals who have the proper certification to carry weapons in certain areas that are enumerated in statutes,” she said. “That includes elementary and secondary school facilities, so our policy is currently in conflict with that. State board policies can’t prohibit something that is authorized in law.”
One thing to keep in mind here is that the change in policy does not mean teachers can immediately begin carrying firearms to school for the purpose of defending their classrooms. Instead, this change allows for each school district to determine security policies for schools that fall within their purview.
Mississippi is a solid pro-Second Amendment state. According to AZ-Defenders, Mississippi is ranked in 18th place for best states for gun owners.
It put itself on the map in 2016 by passing Constitutional Carry. Now it appears to be improving its Second Amendment policies with this move to give school districts the freedom to draw up their own policies.
While this writer does not believe every teacher at a school should be armed, schools should still be allowed to determine their own security policies without any form of federal interference. Gun-free zones at schools have turned these institutions into soft-targets, so it’s high time that policymakers start offering decentralized alternatives that give schools the power to have armed staff, private security, or volunteers assume school security functions.
José Niño is a freelance writer and political analyst based in Austin, Texas. Contact him via Facebook or Twitter. Get his premium newsletter on political strategy here. Subscribe to his Substack here.
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