Indiana Governor Mike Pence
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Republican Governor Mike Pence isn't a big fan of a bill that proposes to require every Indiana public school to have an employee carrying a loaded gun during class hours.
Senate Bill 1, which establishes grant-matching options for school resource officers, was amended Tuesday to include the armed employee requirement. That person could be a resource officer, the principal, a teacher, or other staff member who undergoes prior training.
The governor’s office issued a statement on the proposal after SB 1 passed the House Education Committee on a 9-3 vote Tuesday.
“(The governor) believes that decisions about school safety and security should be made by local schools, with support from the state,” the statement said.
According to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Pence supports local efforts to make schools as safe as possible, but doesn't directly state a position on requiring armed school employees.
The Indiana School Boards Association has also voiced opposition to the bill, saying that the requirement could become an unfunded mandate for schools which do not have current employees willing to be armed and must hire a person who is.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) supports the idea.
“We need some way to defend the children if someone breaks through security, some armed resistance,” he told the Journal Gazette.
SB 1 still has many obstacles to clear before becoming law. The legislation will be heard next in the House Ways and Means Committee. It could then go to the House, then Senate, and would have to receive the Governor’s signature if it passes both chambers.