South Dakota’s House of Representatives passed House Bill 1087 Jan. 29, which would allow school districts to have the option to hire armed sentinels to protect students.
Introduced Jan. 17 and heard on the floor Jan. 23, the bill was delayed because of discussions regarding how much the bill could cost school districts and the risk of placing firearms into the hands of educators.
House majority leader David Lust, a sponsor of HB 1087, said the bill has wide support and would help small, rural communities.
“I don’t think you’ll see many school districts in larger areas do anything, but it gives things for local school districts to consider,” Lust said.
Senator Corey Brown said the bill has gained more support because the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
“If I would have gone to my constituents six months ago, the vast majority would have said they’re fine with gun laws,” Brown said. “We don’t want knee-jerk reactions.”
Brown said the circumstances surrounding the Sandy Hook shootings are different for many schools in South Dakota.
Senator Timothy Rave said the bill is unlikely to have a large impact on most schools, but would aid smaller communities where a response from law enforcement to a school shooting could be hours.