Proposed bill would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school campuses

BATON ROUGE — A bill filed for the regular Louisiana legislative session aims to permit teachers and other school personnel holding valid concealed carry permits to possess concealed weapons on school campuses.

State Representative Lauren Ventrella (R-Central) filed HB721, which “Provides for the carrying of a concealed weapon in a school or on a school campus by a certified teacher or school administrator who is employed by a school district and possesses a valid concealed handgun permit.”

Currently, existing law prohibits anyone from carrying a weapon on a school campus during regular school hours or on a school bus.

MORE: Landry prioritizes education policy, insurance deregulation, revised constitution as session begins

Under current law, there are three exceptions:

  • A peace officer performing their duties
  • A school official or employee in the ordinary course of employment or a student being directed by such school official or employee.
  • Any person having written permission from the principal or school board and competing or getting safety instruction.

Ventrella’s bill seeks to create an exception for teachers with valid concealed carry permits, allowing them to carry concealed weapons on school campuses. This exception would also extend to school buses.

READ MORE: Louisiana House approves permitless concealed carry bill

In 2022, the proposed legislation, initially focused on permitless concealed carry, underwent amendments to allow volunteer “school protection officers” to carry concealed weapons on campus instead. To qualify as a school protection officer, a teacher or school employee would have been required to undergo the same firearms training as police officers.

These amendments were prompted by an incident in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old entered an elementary school with an AR rifle, resulting in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers. However, the amended bill failed to become law.

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers opposed the 2022 bill, arguing that teachers should not be compelled to assume the role of law enforcement officers in addition to their educational duties.

“This new law would put all of the responsibility and liability directly onto our teachers, the federation wrote in 2022. “Teachers would be expected to provide their own gun, obtain their own concealed carry firearm permit, complete a minimum of 400 hours of training on their own personal time, and carry all the responsibility and liability if anything goes wrong. 

“Louisiana’s teachers are already overworked and underpaid, constantly taking on additional responsibilities and duties without receiving the respect and appreciation they deserve. We can not continue to expect teachers to fix all of society’s problems.”

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