(Daily Caller) – Several states are considering legislation to increase security precautions in schools following a Nashville shooting which killed six.
Oregon, Missouri and Tennessee legislatures are considering bills which would implement security measures such as video surveillance systems, emergency buttons and communications systems in schools after 28-year-old Audrey Hale, a woman who was transgender and went by “he/him” pronouns, shot through Covenant School doors on March 27 before firing at and killing three children and three adults. The increasing frequency of school shootings has led to calls for more gun control from Democrats, while Republicans argue the solution is to arm school faculty and staff.
“I think we all understand when people are fearful, when people are angry, when people lash out. I have those same emotions myself, we all do,” Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee told the Tennessean. “We have an obligation, I have an obligation, to do what I can and work together with leaders across this community to address people’s concerns and to protect our kids in whatever way we can.”
Lee backed a piece of legislation on Friday that would require private schools to hire armed school resource officers and would provide them grants to do so, according to the Tennessean. Under current state law, every public school must have an armed guard.
The Governor’s current proposed budget factors in $20 million to increase security within public schools, though Lee is looking to expand the budget in order to fund K-12 mental health support, the Tennessean reported.
The Oregon legislature is looking to be the fourth state to enact a law which would require school districts to alert parents as soon as a safety threat occurs on campus. The legislation, co-sponsored by Democratic lawmakers, was a part of a package of bills which Republicans introduced to create “safe schools.”
The Democratic-led Oregon legislature is also considering additional legislation which would require school systems to implement panic buttons to notify law enforcement of a threat on campus.
“If there’s anything we know, it’s that during an emergency, time equals life,” Democratic state Rep. Emerson Levy, a co-sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press.
The Missouri House of Representatives approved an additional $50 million to the states’ 2024 budget plan on Thursday to help public schools install intercom systems, video surveillance systems and door locking devices, according to the AP. For the 2023-2024 school year, the legislature previously approved $20 million to fund school safety initiatives.