A bill repealing K-12 school “gun-free zones” and allowing local school boards to decide if they want to allow trained and properly permitted staff to carry firearms on campus has passed the Wyoming House Education Committee. It is expected to be adopted by the Wyoming Legislature in late February.

The state’s House Education Committee approved House Bill 111 in a 6-3 vote on Feb. 14. It now moves to the House floor where it will need to clear three votes there before it can proceed to the Senate.

The legislation would allow each district to develop its own regulations but would require anyone who wants to possess a gun in a school to complete 40 hours of firearm training and limit those eligible to employees who hold concealed carry permits. The Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police and the Wyoming School Boards Association have endorsed the proposal.

Wyoming was already among the 18 states that allow guns in schools with certain restrictions. But this proposal expands eligibility to carry a concealed weapon beyond law enforcement officials to include any staff member with a concealed weapons permit and the required training to do so.

Other states that allow guns on K-12 school property to various degrees: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah.

Since January 2013, similar measures allowing qualified school employees, including teachers and administrators, to carry firearms on campus have been introduced or proposed in Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee. The Michigan Legislature passed a bill in 2012, but Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed it.

As reported in on March 25, 2013 and April 5, 2013, legislation that considers arming educators has been introduced in 33 states since the December 2012 Newtown school shootings. Bills to allow public school teachers or administrators who complete a special school resource officer course to carry concealed handguns on campus have been introduced in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Florida.

In 2013, six states — South Dakota, Kansas, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio, Arkansas — adopted laws that prohibit public school teachers and administrators from arming themselves on campus, should they choose to do so and are otherwise qualified to carry a concealed weapon.

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