3.29.23 – KOCO – OKLAHOMA CITY
Oklahoma lawmakers are currently working to advance school safety legislation.
After another school shooting, this time at a Christian school in Nashville, we revisit the question: what can be done to stop it?
That being said, there are some ongoing Republican efforts to make schools safer, after another mass shooting in the United States.
“It’s awful. It’s numbing. Now, I think we see these all too often,” said state Rep. Forrest Bennett, D-Oklahoma City.
It has left lawmakers with familiar reactions.
“It’s devastating and become all too normal,” Bennett said.
Bennett is part of a small minority, mostly Democrats, who argue some sort of gun control is the best way to minimize the risk of a school shooting here in Oklahoma.
“And it seems that the solutions in the minds of my colleagues are to give more people more weapons and that somehow that will make it better,” Bennett said.
There are two bills currently being put forward by the Republican supermajority. In the House, lawmakers want to arm school staff who have concealed carry permits.
“The police can only drive so fast. They can only run so fast. How many students could be shot?” said state Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland.
Over in the Senate, Dewayne Pemberton has authored legislation that looks to provide districts with more money to improve school security.
“It includes an onsite visit by the OSSI, the Oklahoma School Security Institute. They will come in spend several days, go through the entire building, entrances, exits. They’ll look at infrastructure,” Pemberton said.Play Video
The governor did not comment on the latest mass shooting but state Superintendent Ryan Walters did tweet a statement saying he was saddened by what happened in Tennessee and that his department will be announcing several new initiatives that he argued will prevent shootings from being carried out.
“The shooting in Tennessee is a tragedy and I am saddened for the families that have been impacted. School safety and security are always front of mind, so our kids are safe and protected. SDE will announce several new initiatives over the coming weeks that are preventative resources for these types of tragedies. We must make sure that every kid is safe and that we do not experience a tragedy like this in Oklahoma,” Walter said.
The Senate school security bill is awaiting a hearing in a House committee but is being held up because of the ongoing fight over education policy between the House and the Senate.