Pike discusses bill allowing teachers to carry guns

State Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, summed up her guns-in-schools proposal this way:

House Bill “1788 is all about providing more options for local school boards to improve the safety of our children while they are in school, based on the desires of their communities,” Pike wrote in an email today to The Columbian. She wasn’t available for comment on a story we wrote yesterday.

Pike pointed out that her proposal allows schools to make their own choices about allowing permanent school staff to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

“What’s good for a school in Selah (near Yakima) may not be good for a Seattle school,” Pike wrote. “Some communities may embrace this added safety measure while other communities may not. Local control and local decision making is always the best option.”

Pike said her first choice for making schools safer against mass shootings would be to place school resource officers in every school, but not all schools can afford that. The city of Vancouver charges the Vancouver School District for 100 percent of the costs of an officer, while the Clark County Sheriff’s Office charges schools 50 percent of the cost of hiring resource officers, Pike said.

Allowing schools to voluntarily arm teachers and other permanent school staff members is one way to help schools that can’t afford resource officers, Pike said.

“We have armed personnel guarding our President,” she wrote. “He sends his two daughters to a private school with numerous armed guards. Why is the safety of his children more important than the safety of our children?”

Republicans also issued this press release, noting that any school staff would have to pay for their own weapon, ammunition, and gun training.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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