A few anti-gun activists are once again deploying their best fear tactics in a veiled attempt to force our elected representatives to restrict law-abiding citizens on school campuses.
A majority of the Kern High School District trustees voted last year to allow those on staff (as well as visitors, such as parents) who have requested permission and possess a valid California concealed carry weapon permit, or CCW, to be present on campus while legally armed. In so doing, they have provided for yet another layer of vetted, trained, live-scanned, and licensed first responders to the mix. Yet the antis are steadfastly demanding a re-vote and reversal.
Why did this even become an issue? Because Sacramento politicians made it one. Before Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 707, the California Penal Code specifically exempted CCW holders from the 1995 Gun Free School Zone Act. This exemption came to many as a surprise when it was inadvertently tested by a local school administrator. Lois Wolk, a Sacramento Democrat, wasted no time crafting a bill that effectively stripped law abiding CCW holders of their rights while on school property.
SB 707 is law, and it is now a felony to be in possession of a legally permitted weapon on school grounds, unless that weapon is unloaded and secured in a locked container, or one happens to be a member of a special and politically connected class of citizens known as retired law enforcement — 14th Amendment equal protection of the laws be damned.
The KHSD’s long-standing policy has been to restrict weapons on school grounds, but it was not a criminal issue until the passage of SB 707, which makes felons of CCW holders who happen onto a school. While such a practice may have resulted in the termination of any employee who made that choice, it did not make him or her a felon. No longer.
Furthermore, CCW holders are required to stop somewhere off campus, un-holster, unload, un-chamber then stow and lock the weapon and the ammunition before proceeding onto campus, likely in plain view of students coming or going.
This is not a great idea for a couple of reasons: First, it allows for a situation where a potential accidental discharge is needlessly created, and second, it may cause alarm. It is a sadly understandable and predictable scenario when a trip-wire-law like SB 707 is in force.
The majority of the KHSD trustees properly represented the law-abiding parents and staff who are legally permitted to conceal carry their weapon. SB 707 does nothing to address criminal violence; it merely makes potential felons of many of our neighbors. Unfortunately, two trustees voted against the rights of law abiding CCW staff while the remaining board majority did the right thing and blocked this overreach from our run-amok legislature.
The anti-2nd Amendment crowd continues to stoke false fears of increasing gun violence and taxpayer liability, citing skyrocketing insurance premiums as well as civil and criminal liability. There is no rational basis for such statements. A school administrator is no more culpable for the improper discharge of a permitted weapon than is the Sheriff’s office. Furthermore, discussions with local insurance professionals regarding increased insurance costs have no verifiable basis in fact. Insofar as liability concerns go, perhaps the opposing public should consider who might fall under scrutiny if a law-abiding CCW holder is unable to defend herself or those around her because of the unconstitutional laws passed by elected progressives who vigorously oppose the people’s right to keep and bear arms.
Both SB 707 and the Gun Free School Zone Act need to be stricken from the books in California. Gun free zones only restrict those with neither the propensity nor inclination toward armed violence on innocents. KHSD and other districts within the county and state have the right of self-determination regarding these local school policies — and fully trained, law abiding parents and teachers in Kern County should demand to have their Constitutional rights protected in the same manner as retired peace officers.