Senate Bill 383 was approved by the Pennsylvania senate today, and will now head to the House of Representatives, something that Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeaseFirePA, never thought possible.

“It passed out of the education committee a couple weeks ago, which I was a little surprised about,” said Goodman who expected the moderate Republicans to vote with the democrats. “They didn’t, and it passed.”

Teachers carrying guns

The idea that schools -- specifically educators in schools -- need to be armed is something that drew national criticism during the confirmation hearings of Betsy DeVos.

DeVos publicly claimed that allowing teachers and faculty to Carry weapons would protect schools from “grizzly bears.”

The bill allows for teachers or other school personnel to carry guns throughout the day, something that raises some significant safety issues. The bill doesn’t clearly specify what training citizens would be required to have to carry a gun in grade schools, and that lack of specificity is concerning.

“It doesn’t talk about retraining, how much training, and what the training is,” said Goodman. Also not answered are what qualifications are required before a person can take part in the training. Currently in order to be licensed as a concealed carry gun owner in the state, you don’t need any training.

Goodwin explained, “it’s a little bit of a deeper background check performed by the local sheriff.”

Access to weapons has been a topic of national conversation, as President Trump removed Obama restrictions on the mentally-ill’s ability to purchase guns. The move was a fulfillment of a promise to the NRA.

Classroom gun storage

The bill also fails to address gun storage, in a classroom full of kids, it’s easy to imagine a teacher getting distracted and a student getting control of a weapon. Then, whether as a malicious act, or simply out of curiosity, there is a safety risk to students and teachers alike.

Those that voted in favor of the bill, said they did so because the bill is a so-called “maybe” law.

That is, it allows districts to let staff carry guns on campus as they choose. For Republicans, that means less control of local schools by the state government, but it could be a nightmare in terms of insurance rates for local districts.

Parents don't have a right to know about guns

What’s more, the amendments to the bill that cleared the Senate floor today makes clear that Parents and the public won’t be informed about guns on campuses, and the people who possess them.

“Information regarding specific school personnel permitted access to firearms in the buildings or on the grounds of a school: Shall not be subject to the Right-to-Know Law,” according to the amended bill, and the information, “may not be disclosed during a meeting open to the public.”