(The Center Square) — The Mississippi Legislature approved a compromise this week on a bill that would allow trained school employees who possess enhanced concealed carry permits to carry firearms at their school.
The conference report for Senate Bill 2079 was approved on Monday by both chambers and the modified bill is now headed to Gov. Tate Reeves.
The changes made to the bill are minor, with a minimum of a $100 monthly stipend being paid by school districts for those participating in the program. Those stipends – which can be no more than $500 – cannot be funded by federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act grants to school districts.
SB2079 is known as the Mississippi School Protection Act and was authored by state Sen. Angela Hill, R-Picayune. It would allow school employees to carry their weapons at school and be known as school guardians. Each school district, charter school, community college or public university (which would require approval of the trustees for institutes of higher learning) would have an option for armed employees, who’d have to receive firearms, communications, deescalation and first aid training. Participants in the program would have to be recertified annually.
They’d also have to pass a background check and they’d be given immunity while they’re involved in the program.
If signed into law, the Department of Public Safety would be required to mandate rules for the training of these public school safety workers. The identities of the school of those participating in the School Guardian Program would be kept secret from the public.
The bill would go into effect on July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year, if Reeves signs it into law.