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Our View: Parents have the right to discuss guns in school

Guns have always been a huge part of life for those of us who live in the west. We hunt, target shoot and keep guns for self-defense that hopefully will never be needed.

There are countless bills in the state Legislature that are designed to protect our Second Amendment rights and allow for a citizen's response to mass shootings that have plagued our country. Most of the bills are probably not needed and a waste of our legislators' time, but it plays well to the majority of North Dakotans, and for the most part they are harmless.

The exception is House Bill 1215 that would allow school districts to arm teachers, administrators, janitors or guards.

Now we want to be perfectly clear, we are not against doing everything possible to protect our children, and if that means arming adults at school, so be it.

The dangerous part of the bill is that school districts can decide to arm people at the schools without any input or review of the process from the parents who entrust their children to the schools. The bill's sponsors argue that they must keep the discussion closed to the public so those armed are kept secret in an attempt to thwart would-be shooters who won't know who is armed.

The discussion of if schools are going to have armed staff should be reviewed by parents and can easily be done without identifying who will be armed. What level of firearm proficiency should the defenders possess?

Having armed staff at a school is a huge step, and must be open for public scrutiny. Keeping the discussion private is dangerous and sets a precedent anytime there is an important issue where there could be different points of view or dissention. Will the Legislature allow schools or other government entities to simply close the meeting?

Citizens don't need our elected officials treating us like we don't know what is in our best interest. Government absolutely works best when it is open for review of the people who it represents.

The House passed the bill this week and now it goes to the Senate. Hopefully common sense will prevail, and the bill will be defeated, amended or vetoed by the governor should it make it past the Senate.