Pennsylvania's Senate is advancing legislation that would set ground rules for school districts that allow employees to possess a gun on school grounds.
Senators approved the bill 28-22 on Wednesday after an emotional hour-long debate. The bill still requires approval in the House, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf says he opposes it.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Don White, says he wants to give school districts as many tools as possible to protect children from would-be killers. Sen. Daylin Leach opposed the bill, and read a letter on the Senate floor written by educators who survived the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut saying that having guns wouldn't have made them or their students safer.
"As the educators who survived Sandy Hook explained, the reality of an active shooter is far different from the movies," Leach said. "Teachers with guns would not have prevented that shooting, and won’t prevent future shootings. Flaring tempers and honest mistakes are part of daily life in schools, which is why guns shouldn’t be.”
The Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America also denounced the legislation, calling it irresponsible and dangerous.
“The state senators that voted for this bill should be ashamed of themselves," the group said in a statement.
"Instead of heeding the advice of those of us in classrooms, however, state senators have sided with the national gun lobby. Their recklessness will only increase the likelihood of unintentional shootings in our school buildings."
Employees would be required to have a concealed carry license, pass a psychological evaluation and meet certain firearms training requirements.