Today North Dakota Superintendent of Public Schools Kirsten Baesler testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB1215 which would allow schools to authorize concealed carry on their property. Currently concealed carry is prohibited in schools state wide; this would be a permissive law which would allow the decision to be made locally.
The bill, as amended, would require that the schools notify local law enforcement of the names of any persons given permission to carry concealed weapons in their schools.
Baesler told me that she likes the element which allows the decision to be made locally, but that she’s heard from too many parents, teachers and school administrators who don’t want guns in their schools to support the bill.
It was interesting to me that Baesler is opposing a permissive bill because of feedback she’s heard from teachers, students, etc. If there is widespread opposition to the idea, couldn’t those opponents show up in their local school districts and set policy there? There may not be majority opposition to this idea in every school district across the state, so why should one school district be denied the opportunity to change their policy because another school district doesn’t like the idea?
We talk a lot about preserving local control in this state, but it seems that commitment to local control is often an inconsistent thing.
Baesler also says she sees a lot of credibility in the idea that gun free zones have become targets for shooters looking for big body counts, but says she’d rather focus on policies that prevent shooters from getting to the schools. I pointed out that we all want to stop the shooters before they get to the schools – we’d all rather not have any shots fired at all – but asked why we couldn’t do both?
The superintendent, frankly, didn’t have a very convincing answer.