Moms Demand Action and Educators Work to Keep Guns Out of Schools
by Dailene Hendon, LUTU member
Texas members of Moms Demand Action (momsdemandaction.org) are working to bring attention to bills of concern that have been prefiled for the 85th Legislative Session. After winning the fight for campus carry in 2015, several representatives are working to expand gun legislation in Texas.
Texas State Representative Drew Springer (R) has prefiled HB 560, which will broaden the places a licensed to carry (LTC) holder can enter and would bring the state closer to the “guns everywhere” or “constitutional carry” that many in the pro-gun lobby are fighting for. Springer hopes to eliminate all gun-free zones. House Bill 560 created alarm because language in the bill provides for loaded handguns to be carried openly or concealed in institutions with government funding, including K-12 schools, hospitals and nursing homes, courthouses, bars, amusement parks, and sports stadiums.
Speaking as a teacher, HB 560 is a nightmare scenario in regard to the safety of my students and school staff. I am deeply concerned about the gun violence that plagues our nation, and I do not believe that this legislation works toward solving this problem and saving lives. Forcing our schools and campuses to allow guns is not part of the solution. At any given time, most public school campuses have visitors, parent volunteers, parent conferences, and student drop-off or pick-up occurring somewhere in or around the school grounds. Discerning who is and is not LTC places an undue burden on the campus and puts actual peace officers at risk for high-tension situations. Can you imagine a scenario in which a teacher is harmed during a parent conference? Educators and school staff are frequently involved in Child Protective Service cases and confidentially made aware of high-tension custody battles. The idea of creating a culture of guns in schools alarms me when I think of how those scenarios might play out. Will arming every parent, churchgoer, sports fan, and teacher really solve our violence problem and provide a safe community?
Parents, educators, and community members who are involved with government-funded entities and concerned about HB 560 are encouraged to contact their state representative and express their concerns. For more information, visit momsdemandaction.org.