While the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby prepares to launch its shortened signature gathering effort later this week in Washington State, rights advocates there and in North Carolina have an alternative approach to making schools, and communities safer.
Tuesday in North Carolina, four state lawmakers introduced House Bill 1039, the “School Self-Defense Act.” According to Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), a pro-rights organization, if this becomes law it will create a “Volunteer School Faculty Guardian” program similar to the Federal Flight Deck Officer program. Instead of eroding the rights of law-abiding gun owners – especially young adults in the 18-20 age group – this effort would allow full or part-time school faculty members who have concealed carry permits to be armed on campus for the protection of students.
This is not unlike the goal of Washington’s Initiative 1621, detailed earlier in Liberty Park Press. If this grassroots initiative, authored by Tyler Miller, makes it to the ballot and becomes law, it would amend state statute to allow licensed citizens to carry on public and private school grounds. School employees would be required to inform their senior administrator that they will be carrying a firearm for awareness and accountability purposes only.
In North Carolina, the effort appears to have support from some teachers, and GRNC President Paul Valone summed it up: “Too often, politicians have wrongly equated protecting school children with the loss of individual freedom. GRNC thanks these courageous legislators for promoting a solution, already operating successfully in Ohio and elsewhere, which will deter mass killings, allow volunteer faculty members to provide a last layer of defense for school children, and preserve our Constitutional liberties.”
The North Carolina lawmakers responsible for HB 1039 are Reps. Larry Pittman, Michael Speciale, John Blust and Mark Brody.
But billionaire-backed anti-gunners in Washington State seem more interested in eroding the rights of honest gun owners than in providing another layer of deterrence and first-responder defense at schools, and they’ve already raised more than $1.3 million to qualify it for the ballot. Calling their effort the Safe Schools, Safe Communities campaign, they are planning a kick-off Thursday following a court hearing in Thurston County on four ballot title challenges. The Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility is calling for volunteers to help gather signatures while opponents of the measure are urging people to read before they sign. “The devil,” they contend, “is always in the details.”
Veteran advocate Phil Watson is chairing the Save Our Security (“SOS”) effort to fight Initiative 1639. The group has a website that is raising funds for the looming political battle, giving Evergreen State gun owners a chance to support a fight to protect their rights beyond telling people like Watson to “keep up the good work.”
Anti-gunners have announced they will have petitions available in Bellingham, Olympia, Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver, and certainly in Seattle, where they expect to get a lot of signatures. They will need at least 300,000 signatures to make sure they have enough valid ones to meet the 295,622 goal.
The next four weeks could be wild in Washington, and perhaps North Carolina between people with far different perspectives about how to make schools safer.