Guns in schools bill dies in North Dakota Senate

Lawmakers in the North Dakota Senate shot down a bill Tuesday that would have allowed trained employees to carry concealed guns on school property.

According to the Associated Press, the Senate voted against the measure, Senate Bill 1310, on a 27-18 vote. The legislation would have allowed up to 10 schools to opt-in to the guns-in-schools “pilot program,” so long as approval was given from the school boards.

While the House overwhelmingly passed the bill on a 73-19 vote, the Senate is comprised of many former educators who had voiced strong opposition to the measure.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, a former high school teacher himself, noted many teachers, administrators and education groups never wanted the bill.

“We have a bill nobody wants and they don’t plan on using it,” Wardner said

The legislation had been intended to help rural schools better protect themselves, as it often takes law enforcement a good amount of time to respond to emergencies in such rural areas, as noted by Republican Sen. Jane Myrdal, a supporter of the bill.

“Why on Earth are we leaving this wide open and advertising them as a soft target?” Myrdal asked.

The bill would have required school employees to complete 80 hours of training before they would have been allowed to carry concealed firearms on school property.