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Phil Fortunato, guns, schools, teachers
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State bill allowing teachers to carry guns in schools brought before Legislature

(AP)

A bill was introduced in the Washington Legislature Tuesday by Republican Senator Phil Fortunato that would allow teachers to possess guns on schools grounds, provided they meet certain criteria.

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“It is the paramount duty of the state to provide for basic education. The Legislature finds that pursuant to this duty, basic education requires a safe learning environment,” the bill reads.

SB-5977 would allow permanent school employees — defined in the bill as teachers, administrators, or anyone working under contract with a school for at least a year — to carry a gun on elementary or secondary school premises and school-provided transportation.

In order to possess a firearm on school grounds, permanent school employees would need a valid concealed carry permit, successful completion of a firearms training course, and approval from the school board.

The identities of employees carrying guns would be kept under wraps.

“Let’s say we have a high school and we have 50 teachers and administrators, heck the janitor could participate in this,” Fortunato told Dori Monson recently. “Out of those 50, five of them decide to participate in this project. Which five? So the whole secret is if somebody was to attempt to do something, he doesn’t know which teacher or which administrator would be armed in that situation. That would be a force multiplier by keeping that information confidential.”

Given that Washington state voters just passed the country’s most stringent gun control measures in I-1639, this will likely be a tough sell in a Democrat-controlled Legislature.

This also isn’t the first controversial gun legislation Sen. Fortunato has proposed in recent months. In January, he presented a bill that would require state lawmakers to go through a firearm training course before passing any legislation related to gun control.

“There’s a little bit of a problem with somebody drafting legislation that doesn’t have the faintest idea at what the heck is going on with guns,” Fortunato said weeks back.

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