Proposed security bill would allow armed marshals in Kentucky public schools
Marshals would have access to a weapon during active shooter situations.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the wake of two recent school shootings, including one in Marshall County, Kentucky, lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow armed marshals in public schools.
“We have to step up our security in some form or fashion,” said Sen. Stephen West (R-Paris), the sponsor of SB 103.
West filed the bill on Jan. 23, the same day as the shooting at Marshall County High School.
“This bill, as it is now, is strictly for active shooter situations,” West said.
West’s bill would allow public schools to designate teachers or staff members as school marshals. During an active shooter crisis, they would have access to a lock box containing a firearm.
“I view it as an option for those districts and schools that can't afford an SRO,” he said.
SROs are School Resource Officers, usually trained law enforcement.
The current version of the bill says the marshals would need only to have a concealed carry license. But West said he is revamping it to require additional training.
“Ideally, you would like to have a veteran there that's properly trained to do this,” West said. “But if that veteran is suffering from PTSD or something like that, we need to know that ahead of time. You need the right person there.”
Democratic Sen. Reggie Thomas said he has concerns.
“I'm not saying I would be opposed to the bill," Thomas said. "But again, I do not want to turn our schools into forts."
West said, in the wake of the Florida shooting, his bill is now evolving into a more comprehensive school security measure.
“I've always viewed this as a framework, a starting point” he said.
West said, in addition to marshals, the amended version of SB 103 would have measures to ensure schools have proper security procedures in place, such as limited access to buildings, door locks on classrooms and security cameras.
“I think we have all the pieces if we can just put them together in a coherent fashion, and develop a security plan,” he said.
It’s a plan that West believes will balance study and safety. He hopes to have a hearing on the new, expanded school security bill next month.
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