More than 200 volunteers with the North Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action took part in “advocacy day” Wednesday to urge lawmakers to vote against bills that would allow teachers to carry guns on school grounds.
Moms Demand Action – NC is a non-partisan group that’s part of a national organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, that’s fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.
“There’s currently a bill proposed that would allow arming our teachers and we are absolutely opposed to that,” said Cherie Bosard-Dutton, a local group manager for Moms Demand Action NC.
North Carolina lawmakers are considering two new bills that would allow teachers to carry firearms on school grounds.
House Bill 216 – The School Self-Defense Act – would make it legal for teachers and staff members to carry concealed handguns on school grounds “to respond to acts of violence or imminent threats of violence.”
And Senate Bill 192 – The School Security Act of 2019 – would incentivize teachers to carry concealed weapons, provide training and pay raises for teachers who undergo law enforcement training, and make them sworn law enforcement officers too.
Bosard-Dutton, speaking shortly after the group’s meeting at Church of the Good Shepherd, said the lawmakers are also being pushed to adopt an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), which essentially a red flag law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to temporarily remove firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
“After the Parkland shooting [at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018] in Florida, that’s what Florida passed to hopefully prevent something like that from happening again,” Bosard-Dutton said.
State Rep. Marcia Morey of Durham filed a bill last year to establish an ERPO law but House Speaker Tim Moore sent it to the House Rules Committee where it died.
Morey has filed another bill this session, HB 454, which would establish ERPOs to temporarily remove weapons from people who pose a risk to themselves or others.
Bosard-Dutton said asking teachers to carry firearms is not the best way to keep students safe.
“Teachers are absolutely overburdened in this state in a million ways,” she said. “Adding one more thing to their To Do list seems crazy. And if that one more thing is training them protect their students with their hands and body, I don’t think that’s the way to keep them safe.”