A new law permitting guns in locked cars is forcing schools to adjust security policies. School property was previously considered a gun-free zone, but with recent changes in legislation, guns are allowed in locked vehicles if they are out of sight. This change is drawing both praise and criticism.
Brown Country resident, Beverly Grimes, picks up her daughters from Helmsburg Elementary. Grimes does not own a gun, however her husband does. She says the new law offers her some peace of mind.
“All the parents and children benefit from that being legal now,” Grimes says. “The comfort would be there just knowing that there’s a weapon there.”
The law came about last March during the last legislative session and goes into effect the start of this school year. It also amends a previous law to say if a gun is visible in the vehicle, it is a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
Seymour Republican Representative Jim Lucas first introduced the legislation. He argues the gun-free zones many schools had in the past don’t necessarily make for a safer environment.
“What I want to try and get to is recognizing everyone’s natural right to defend themselves and cut through this myth that gun free zones and laws are going to protect us,” Lucas says.
But some school officials say the new law takes away schools’ ability to enforce their own policies regarding firearms on school property.
Director of planning for Monroe County Community schools, John Carter, oversees all of the security and safety policies. He says the new law has only complicated things.
“Both school boards met and started to pass new policies, had to rewrite our weapons policies and guidelines and when I read it this is really, pardon me, stupid, that we’re having to do this,” Carter says.
Carter says the law has made his job more difficult by adding to his list of worries.
“It just presents more opportunities and occasions where someone may have access to a gun and we don’t need that at schools, which is why a number of us think it’s kind of silly,” Carter says.
Monroe County resident, Chris Robb, picks his daughter up from Templeton Elementary School. Robb says that while he understands the different standpoints on the law, he feels it won’t affect the safety on school property.
“I don’t think it’ll make it safer, I don’t think it’ll make it less safe, like I said I just feel like it’s an unnecessary rule,” Robb says.
Guns are still banned on most other parts of school property including in school buildings and on school buses.