OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – House Republicans voted on Tuesday to give Oklahoma teachers more access to guns.
House Bill 2139 would add a concealed carry license to the list of approved licenses teachers could obtain in order to bring a gun into the classroom.
Current law states teachers must hold an armed security guard license or a valid reserve certification as a peace officer, in order to carry on campus.
Concealed carry takes about eight hours to acquire and does not require CLEET certification.
Democrats argued allowing teachers to carry in classrooms could make the environment more dangerous.
“I’m trying to break up a fight,” explained Rep. Jacob Rosecrants (D-Norman), a former teacher. “My firearm just hanging out. I can’t keep an eye on everything.”
The author of the bill, Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow), said more guns would deter a potential shooter.
“If there’s a possibility when they go into a school that they can get shot, they will chose the pathway of least resistance and they’ll go somewhere else,” said McDugle.
Moms Demand Action weighed into the debate with a statement from a member of their local chapter.
“This kind of blatant disregard for public safety cannot, and will not, go unnoticed,” said Kay Malan, a volunteer with the Oklahoma chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Year after year, we’ve fought these spineless lawmakers who put our lives at greater risk just to pander to local gun extremists. They have already shredded all of our gun safety laws. When will enough be enough?”
Republican Scott Fetgatter said Democrats and opponents of the bill are exaggerating its effects, emphasizing the bill makes concealed carry for teachers an option.
“Mr. Speaker, I don’t recall the state legislature ever purchasing weapons to put in any mother-freakers hands,” said Fetgatter.
Emotions were high on both sides of the floor.
Trish Ranson, a Democrat from Stillwater, said teachers would face an increase in scrutiny from community members.
“God-forbid, there was a school shooting and I didn’t act the way the other teachers or the other students or the other people in my community should have act,” said Ranson, referring to the added pressure on teachers that take on the duty of carrying a firearm.
The bill passed along party lines, 79-20 and will now head to the Senate.