by James Petigru
Spartanburg, SC – Following last week’s massacre of 20 children and seven adults in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, a South Carolina lawmaker says he has a plan to end school violence once and for all — by arming the schoolchildren.
State Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) introduced a bill this week that would allow students as young as first grade to carry handguns at school. “If some of those kids in Connecticut had been armed, well who knows,” said Bright, “this tragedy may never have happened.”
Bright noted that on the day before the Newtown shooting, Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a bill allowing adults such as teachers and administrators to carry guns at school. “Arming teachers is a step in the right direction, but in today’s schools they can only be so many places at once — especially with all the cutbacks we’ve been forcing on them lately,” Bright said. “In order for our children to truly be protected, they have to be able to draw at a moment’s notice if they see something amiss.”
In addition to allowing students to carry handguns, the bill would also require each classroom to keep an AR-15 assault rifle in a glass case in the event of a school shooting.
However, some gun advocates argued that Bright’s measure simply doesn’t go far enough. “By not letting Kindergarten students carry guns, the law would put these kids in harm’s way by denying them their God-given right to defend themselves from gang members or communists,” said Adam Young, director of South Carolina’s chapter of the National Rifle Association.
In response, Bright said he was drafting a provision that would allow Kindergarteners to carry a gun after watching a 30-minute instructional video covering the safe handling of a weapon. “If we’re gonna do this, we have to do it right,” Bright said with a grin. “Safety first!”