Bill to bring second amendment education to classrooms

Published: Jan. 5, 2015 at 10:11 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2015 at 10:43 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A proposed bill is looking to change the zero-tolerance policy South Carolina schools have toward guns by requiring specific second amendment curriculum.

"The second amendment should be freely debated in schools and instead the second amendment is being squelched in our schools," said Rep. Alan Clemmons, R - Horry County.

Rep. Clemmons said he first thought of the idea after hearing about the Summerville student who was punished for turning in a fictional story about shooting his neighbor's dinosaur.

The Second Amendment Education Act of 2015 would give students the opportunity for reasonable expression of the second amendment at school without fear of punishment.

"If we let that go unchecked, the second amendment will cease being a freedom enjoyed under the United States Constitution," Rep. Clemmons said.

Three weeks of a high school student's coursework on the Constitution would be dedicated to learning about why the right to bear arms was included in the Bill of Rights.

The state superintendent of education would be responsible for developing the three-week high school curriculum using the National Rifle Association as a resource.

Clemmons is also proposing making December 15 "Second Amendment Awareness Day" for students at all grade levels. Students would be encouraged to submit essays and posters highlighting the second amendment to the General Assembly Sportsman's Caucus to judge.

"At one point we just got so afraid of anything that had the word gun in it that we pulled it away from children, and I think it's time that we get back into it and bring it back," said Robert Battista, owner of 707 Gun Shop in Socastee.

However, some say what schools really need is more gun safety education rather than spending classroom time on solely the second amendment and its history.

"In South Carolina, I think kids pretty much know. This is the South and gun ownership is pretty common around here, so I don't know that it's going to be beneficial," said Mylissa Bellamy, director of the Matthew Bellamy Project, which was founded after Bellamy's 11-year-old son Matthew was accidentally shot and killed by a 12-year-old when the two found a gun.

The bill's first hearing will be in the education committee once the legislative session begins next week.

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