The bill that would have allowed teachers to carry guns in the classroom after specialized training is dead after the House declined to take it up Thursday.
Speaking with reporters, Rep. Andy Gipson said the changes made to House Bill 1083 in the Senate were too big to fix this session.
“We just couldn’t come to an agreement on the language,” the Republican from Braxton said. “So I concluded no bill is best. We’re going to let that bill die.”
The bill, authored by Gipson, originally offered those with an enhanced concealed carry permit the ability to sue entities that denied them the right to carry in public spaces. Thursday was the deadline to pass it off the House calendar.
HB 1083 built upon an existing law passed in the 2011 legislative session which expanded the rules on who could carry a concealed weapon. This bill allowed public defenders and citizens who passed a background check, took a firearms training course and obtained the correct permit to bring their weapon with them to many public spaces.
When the bill made it to the Senate, it was changed to allow teachers and other public school employees to carry firearms on K-12 campuses with additional training and school board approval.
The Senate version, called the “Mississippi School Safety Act,” would have allowed districts to designate teachers and other public school employees to get specialized concealed weapons training to carry firearms on K-12 campuses.
Those with the proper license can already carry in a long list of public spaces, and Gipson has said he authored the bill because some entities, like colleges and universities, were turning permit holders away. After backlash from the Southeastern Conference and university presidents in the state, the Senate removed the provision that would have allowed permit holders to carry in sporting events.
Gipson said he approved of the provision to arm teachers, but didn’t want to pass legislation that would repeal the ability of concealed carry permit-holders the right to carry in locations currently listed under the law.
“My main objection is I didn’t want to roll back consistent concealed carry rights in Mississippi,” Gipson said. “We’ll look at it next time.”