Lawmakers introduce bill that could give educators the ability to carry firearms in SC schools

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A new bill introduced in the South Carolina House could give educators the ability to carry a weapon in schools.

It's called the School Protection Officer Act. Local representative Tim McGinnis, along with 20 other state leaders, joined in on the bill they think will make schools in S.C. more secure.

"Whatever we can do from a state level to help teachers and help schools keep their facilities safe, we need to do," McGinnis said.

He said it wouldn't give all teachers the right to carry, but it could allow some to become trained to do so.

"If somebody in the school wants to step up and wants to carry a firearm in the school for protection of the students, it makes sure that this person is well trained," McGinnis said.

That school employee would not just need a carry permit, but they would also be trained by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division.

"My fear is, if somebody just has a gun - and they might have the best intentions - but they don't know how to respond to a critical situation like that, you could have unwelcome casualties," McGinnis said. "Things could go wrong. This way, we're ensuring that the person who is carrying a weapon in the school knows what they're doing with that weapon."

Not just anyone could decide they want to be trained. According to McGinnis, they would need to be approved by the school board.

"If a person in a school - be it a teacher, staff - wants to take it upon themselves to do this and approaches the administration, or if administration knows somebody well suited for this, they could probably approach them and see if they want to do this," he said. "But at any rate, that person would have to be approved by the school first, then the school board."

McGinnis added he's not for arming all teachers, so this bill would be a way to make sure if a teacher is armed, they not only know what to do with a gun, but also how to react in a critical situation.

"I'm a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and we need to be extra careful around our kids. I don't want my kids who are in Horry County schools to wind up in a situation where someone who's trying to help accidentally hurts them," he said. "I want the person who is using the weapon to know exactly what they're doing, not only with the weapon, but with the situation."

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