Letter to the editor: Bill allows schools to develop their own defense plansI do not want guns in schools, but the question I ask our opponents is “What’s your answer?” As taxpayers, do we want to spend $75 million per year to put a law officer in every North Dakota school?
By: By Rep. Dwight Kiefert, Valley City, N.D. , The Jamestown Sun
I do not want guns in schools, but the question I ask our opponents is “What’s your answer?”
As taxpayers, do we want to spend $75 million per year to put a law officer in every North Dakota school?
The real problem is mental illness. How much money do the taxpayers want to spend to deal with this problem? The occurrence of mental illness seems to be skyrocketing. Are we going to try and identify the violently mentally ill and incarcerate them or put them in institutions? We are open to direction for the public’s solution.
My bill, House Bill 1215, simply gives schools the right to develop their own plans of defense that would include hiring retired police officers, retired service members or whomever they wish to provide security. They should have the right to train staff, including teachers, to defend their schools and allow whomever to take the conceal-and-carry class and practice this on the school grounds. They should develop plans with their local authorities so everyone at the school and enforcement would be able to react collectively to a situation.
My bill also gives them the right to have closed meetings concerning defense plans where they can allow whomever they wish. Keeping the final plans from the general public would be in the best interests of the school — especially if they decided not to defend their school. Why tell a perpetrator that the school is defenseless or who will be armed?
HB 1215 also leaves the gun-free zone intact for the schools. This would prevent parents from concealing weapons on school grounds where they might be perceived as a perpetrator.
I am quite sure that there will be changes to our gun laws. The best way to approach lawmakers is to directly email North Dakota House Judicial Committee members. They are Reps. Kim Koppelman, R-West Fargo; Lawrence R. Klemin, R-Bismarck; Randy Boehning, R-Fargo; Roger Brabandt, R-Minot; Lois Delmore, D-Grand Forks; Ben W. Hanson, D-West Fargo; Kathy Hogan, D-Fargo; Karen Karls, R-Bismarck; William E. Kretschmar, R-Venturia; Diane Larson, R-Bismarck; Andrew G. Maragos, R-Minot; Gary Paur, R-Gilby; Vicky Steiner, R-Dickinson; and Nathan Toman, R-Mandan.
All lawmakers’ email addresses are available at legis.nd.gov. They have the hearings, amendments, and try to come up with the best plan and then present it to the Legislature for a vote.
(Kiefert, a Republican, represents District 24 in the North Dakota House of Representatives)