South Dakota Governor Signs Bill Allowing Armed Teachers in the Classroom

classroomSouth Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in school, making his state the first to enact such a law since the Newtown shooting tragedy.

The bill was pushed by gun-rights supporters who say arming teachers could help prevent tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six educators died. The law, which goes into effect July 1, will allow school districts to arm teachers and other personnel.

But the measure prompted intense debate in the capital, as several representatives of school boards, school administrators and teachers opposed the bill during committee testimony last month. They said the measure could make schools more dangerous, lead to accidental shootings and put guns in the hands of people who are not adequately trained to shoot in emergency situations.

The issue of guns in schools has been a contentious one. The National Rifle Association, several days after the Newtown shooting, proposed installing armed officers or guards in schools across America — an idea that was met with derision by gun control advocates. Democrats on Capitol Hill in Washington have since moved ahead on gun control legislation, including an …

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