Leaders in Kansas are proposing a controversial new law that aims to punish schools if they don’t allow teachers to have guns in the classroom. Specifically, the legislation demands that schools be held liable for injuries and losses during active shooter events if their policies prevent teachers from being armed on the job. The law, known colloquially as HB 2789, also prevents insurers from penalizing schools who support armed teachers who concealed carry.
• Since 2013, Kansas state law has allowed teachers to carry guns into the classroom. Until recently, it was up to individual districts and schools to decide whether or not to allow such actions.
• Even though Kansas doesn’t specifically disallow guns in schools, districts who have allowed armed teachers in the classroom have experienced difficulties with insurance or funding. EMC Insurance Companies, who insures most schools in the state of Kansas, ultimately started refusing to cover schools if they had armed teachers present.
• Last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was the final straw for Rep. Blake Carpenter. He immediately began drafting a bill to specifically prevent insurance companies from refusing to cover the schools.
• Carpenter responded to questions about safety plainly. “It is not if our kids will be killed,” he said during a hearing in front of the House Insurance Committee. “It is when will they be killed, and what are we doing to prevent it.”
• Carpenter also reminded residents that not every school in Kansas has the funding or availability of resources to hire an armed guard or resource officer. He sees allowing teachers to arm themselves as the “next best thing.”
• Kansas Sen. Ty Masterson agrees with Carpenter’s assessment. He indicated that “We make our kids soft targets,” when we refuse to allow teachers to bear arms. But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach doesn’t think the bill goes far enough; he’d like to see the ability for districts to refuse teachers who bear arms removed completely.