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Mississippi legislature considering bills allowing teachers to be armed

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Two bills that would allow educators within Mississippi’s schools to be armed in the classroom have survived the committee deadline.

In an attempt to have workers within educational facilities armed and thoroughly trained, House Bill 532 and Senate Bill 2079 would establish the Mississippi School Guardian Training Program. The program would create an opportunity for teachers to be trained to carry firearms while in school buildings under the guidance of the Mississippi Department of Homeland Security.

During a recent interview on MidDays with Gerard Gibert, Sean Tindell, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, stated that giving school employees who have an enhanced or concealed carry permit the option to go through rigorous training to be able to possess a firearm in the classroom would help create a safer environment, especially in educational centers that lack an armed resource officer.

“We feel like this is just a good step to help make schools safer. We obviously feel like school resource officers are the best option, but we also know that’s not always going to be realistic in every school across the state,” Tindell said. “We feel like it’s a good alternative and if schools can already do this, we just want them, if they’re going to do it, to have this option to provide their those teachers or with better training.”

If the legislation is passed, eligible employees would have the choice to volunteer for the guardian training program. Then, the respective school districts would either approve or deny permission for the volunteer to be involved in the program.

According to Tindell, approved school staffers would go through a two-to-three-week training session where they are educated on tactics related to gun safety and proper interaction with the police if a crisis happened to occur.

“They would learn self-defense tactics. They would learn firearm tactics. They would learn communication with law enforcement,” Tindell continued. “If we’re going to have teachers in schools with a firearm, they’re going to have the proper training and an interaction plan with law enforcement.”

Training would be conducted at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy in Pearl and led by multiple law enforcement agencies in collaboration with one another.

Watch the full interview with Commissioner Tindell below.

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