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Legislators to decide bill arming administrators
by Monica Burge
January 15, 2013 02:40 PM | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Now that the General Assembly is in session, legislators can turn toward the task of dissecting and debating the many pieces of legislation that will be considered this term.

Among these is House Bill 35.

State House District 15 Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville, pre-filed the legislation that would allow school administrators to carry firearms.

Battles, who filed the legislation Jan. 7, said the bill is not about guns.

“This is not a gun bill; this is a safety bill,” Battles said.

Battles said under his bill, local school boards will have the option of allowing either a principal or vice principal “in each school in the school system to possess and carry firearms within a school safety zone or school building, at a school function or on school property or bus or other transportation furnished by the school.”

The bill does not make it a requirement that all schools arm administrators, Battles said.

“The bill specifically says this is not mandatory,” Battles said.

If local school systems so choose to allow a school administrator to carry a gun, the individual must receive certification, meet the same qualifications as other concealed weapons permit carriers and be certified in weapons training every year Battles said.

“Everyone will be required to be certified in the sense that they have gone through the training,” Battles said.

Battles said he has received strong support for the bill from “all over the state” and that no agency, gun activist group or special interest group influenced his decision to file the bill.

“This has been something that I thought about for a number of years,” Battles said. “It’s just been proven that our schools are not as protected as they should be. I looked at what would be the sensible approach for providing security.”

Battles said this hopefully will be an opportunity to provide the security to schools with the only expense being the cost of training the administrator.
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