A second school district in Georgia unanimously approved a measure to allow teachers to carry holstered handguns on campus.
“There is no higher purpose of our school system than to provide a safe a secure environment for our students, faculty, and staff,” Fannin County Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney wrote in a press release obtained by Gunpowder Magazine. “[We] are unable to ignore the many tragic events across our nation that have resulted in the deaths of so many, including students and staff, as a result of horrific violent acts committed by those wishing to do harm.”
“Weapons possessed or carried by personnel under this paragraph shall be secured as follows: Concealed weapons are permitted if they are carried in a holster and not in a purse, briefcase, bag, or similar other accessory which is not secured on the body. If maintained separate from the body, the weapon shall be maintained in a secured lock safe or similar lock box that cannot be easily accessed by students,” the proposal, called GAMB (no explanation for the acronym was given), says.
A list of approved teachers, their weapons, and ammunition will be maintained by the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department. Teachers will receive training in proper judgement, and pistol and long gun shooting from the sheriff’s department. Training can be substituted based on the employee’s prior experience in the military or law enforcement, according to the policy.
“Allowing teachers to concealed carry gives us a very quick response to an active shooter that will save lives in meantime,” Jerry Henry, Executive Director of Georgia Carry, a state-level gun rights group, told Gunpowder Magazine. “You don’t have to wait for the police, [who] won’t be there when the shooting starts. Teachers will already be there.”
A CBS46 report from 2016 found the average police response time in Georgia is around seven minutes. Some counties have an average response time nearing 13 minutes. For someone caught in a hail of gunfire, that can feel like an eternity.
“Fannin is a more rural county, so the response time is a bit longer. Someone can do a lot of damage in five minutes. But, it can be stopped. Now those criminals have something else to think about,” Henry said.
Critics say allowing teachers to concealed carry will change the dynamic of the classroom. But Henry said this policy is very similar to the campus carry laws passed in 2017.
Laurens County in central Georgia approved a policy to allow employees to have weapons in their cars and at school functions in March.
Bleckley County, among others, has tabled discussions of allowing teachers to concealed carry, though Henry expects those counties to pass similar provisions by the year’s end.
Robert Davis is a journalist from Colorado. He covers defensive gun use and Second Amendment policy for Gunpowder Magazine. Contact him at [email protected].