By CARL SMITH
State Rep. Gary Chism says a bill that would provide handgun access to school superintendents is not likely to make it to the full Miss. House of Representatives for a vote.
Miss. H.B. 177, also known as “The School Protection Act,” was filed by Chism and state Rep. William Tracy Arnold this session. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee last month, but Chism says the group is unlikely to move it forward by Tuesday’s deadline.
As filed, the act would authorize school administrators access to .38-caliber handguns — a minimum caliber written in the bill — and “exploding ammunition which prevents ricochet(s).”
Under the bill, administrators with handgun access must obtain a federal firearm license, be licensed under Miss. Code 45-9-101 to carry a concealed weapon and complete nationally accredited instructional and safety courses.
“The handgun must stay locked in a biometric gun safe in the school administrator’s office, and only administrators trained and licensed … shall have access to the handgun,” the bill states. “The handgun may be retrieved and used only in instances when students and other persons at school are in immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury.”
“We’re running out of time (in the House Education Committee). The deadline is Tuesday, and we still have a bunch of education bills,” Chism said Thursday. “It’s doubtful we’ll be able to do anything on this.”
Chism said he filed the bill because he believes administrators should have the tools capable of protecting their students in even the most dire situations. By outlining strict safety training requirements, he said he believes these weapons can safely be in school districts.
“These are top-tier requirements for civilians,” Chism said, referring to the bill’s training requirements. “This type of bullet is also used by air marshals to ensure they disintegrate and do not cause ricochets.”
Biometric safes, he said, would also ensure that only authorized administrators who have received training have access to the weapons.