With Missouri’s legislature returning to work after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, its members will certainly have education on the agenda. However, addressing the fact that Missouri ranks 41st in education (receiving a C-minus) will most likely take a backseat, while the insanity of teachers carrying guns in schools is debated.
House Bill 70, sponsored by Mike Kelley (R-Lamar), would make it lawful for teachers and school employees to carry a concealed weapon in their school buildings. Twenty-four co-sponsors have joined him in this folly—including one Democrat. With solid majorities in both the House and Senate, this misguided attempt to provide protection for school children could pass and also survive a veto from Gov. Jay Nixon.
Several St. Louis County suburban school superintendents have said they are opposed to the bill. Hopefully administrators in successful districts with Republican representatives, which include Kirkwood, Rockwood, Ladue, and Parkway, will pressure their respective legislators into not supporting this bill. But if it does pass and a veto is overturned, I suggest that municipalities that don’t favor the legislation simply pass a local bill that says the law doesn’t have to be followed.
That’s what we do in Missouri.
For instance, state legislators are prepared to debate a bill that would make it unlawful to enforce any federal ban on assault weapons and other gun accessories. In addition, Osage County Sheriff Michael Dixon has declared himself his own U.S. Supreme Court, and says he won’t enforce any gun ban “that violates the Second Amendment.”
If the state can pick and choose what federal laws it is going to obey, or allow to be enforced, then any city or town should feel free to pass a law that refutes a state law. That’s only fair, right?
Individual school boards have been bypassed by the nonsense of HB 70. Isn’t it the job of school boards to determine what does and doesn’t go on within the walls of school buildings? Boards should not fear terminating any teacher, administrator, or employee who brings a gun into a school regardless of the state law. If the city of Kirkwood says it doesn’t want guns in its schools unless carried by law enforcement officials, they should pass a statute declaring it.
Missouri is not the lone state of foolishness. Texas and Wyoming are also considering bills prohibiting enforcement of a federal gun ban. I wonder what other federal laws these states would like to flout.
If a state can thumb its nose at a federal law, then the federal government can take action. It could start by reminding Sheriff Dixon that police officers are sworn to uphold the law—not just the ones with which they agree. It could also decide to withhold federal funding from states that allow teachers and staff members to bring weapons into schools.
Of course, Missouri obviously doesn’t care enough about education funding; that’s part of the reason we’re 41st in a respected ranking.
Many of our legislators blame teachers. They think they are lazy, overpaid, protected by unions, and only out for themselves—which makes them the perfect candidates to carry guns to school every day.
Commentary by Alvin Reid