Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 18, 2013

Roae now co-sponsoring teacher-gun bill

MEADVILLE — State Rep. Brad Roae is co-sponsoring state Rep. Greg Lucas’ legislation to allow qualified school personnel in Pennsylvania to carry firearms on school property — while state Rep. Michele Brooks is taking a more restrained stance.

The three state House members, all Republicans, represent different portions of Crawford County.

Lucas, who represents northwestern Crawford and western Erie counties, recently introduced the “School Personnel Right To Carry Act.”

If passed, it would allow but not require teachers, principals, administrators and other school personnel to carry a firearm if they pass a three-point check system.

Teachers would have to pass the background check that is already a pre-condition for employment in the Pennsylvania School Code. The teacher also would have to pass an additional background check — including the investigation of character and reputation by their local sheriff — necessary to obtain a license to carry a firearm. In order to qualify, a teacher also would have to acquire the same certification in the use of firearms currently utilized by law enforcement officers.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Roae said in an interview with the Tribune. “It gives schools a tool they can use to increase safety and security.”

Roae said it would be totally voluntary and, though a school district may approve the option, the district’s teachers and staff may choose not to do so. He represents eastern Crawford County, including Meadville and Titusville.

However, Brooks, who represents southwestern Crawford County and parts of Mercer and Lawrence counties, said the proposed legislation presents a moral dilemma for her.

“I’m a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and in protecting law-abiding citizens rights to own guns,” Brooks said. “What happens if a student gets shot?”

Lucas’ proposed legislation has to be part of any discussion, Brooks said.

“We need to have more conversation about it,” she said. “We need to put everything on the table.”

A larger concern for Brooks is that video games are currently so gruesome, and the effect they can have on children.

“They remove the reality of death, and kids can have a disrespect or disregard for life,” she said. “That’s part of what concerns me. Somebody gets shot 10 times (in a game) and they get back up.”

State Sen. Bob Robbins, a Republican whose district includes Crawford County, was unavailable for comment.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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