Board holds off on vote for employee gun policy

By Bryan Richardson

The USD 383 school board postponed a vote Wednesday on a revised policy that would allow employees with concealed carry permits to keep a firearm in their vehicle on school property.

The board decided to hold its decision until receiving some clarification on the legal ramifications of its action.

The revised policy is a response to the state law passed last year that allows for people with concealed carry permits to bring their handguns into state and municipal buildings that don’t have adequate security measures. School buildings aren’t required to allow concealed carry under the law, but schools can’t prohibit an employee from keeping a handgun that is secured out of plain sight in his or her vehicle.

When superintendent Bob Shannon mentioned that the law doesn’t prohibit employees from keeping their handguns in their car, board member Aaron Estabrook wondered why the district had to adopt the policy.

Estabrook, an Army veteran who served as a tank gunner in Afghanistan, said he couldn’t support the policy because it doesn’t help secure students and employees, it places uncertainty in the district’s ability to negotiate insurance and it is in “direct conflict” with the principles of responsible gun ownership.

“My military background instilled in me the concept of having positive control of your firearm at all times,” he said. “An unattended car in a parking lot does not meet the threshold of positive control.”

Board member Pat Hudgins said she isn’t concerned about people who have the proper training, including how to store their handgun.

“I think it would be people who don’t have concealed carry that would be the concern,” she said.

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