A proposed bill, aiming to improve school safety, would allow certain school employees carry firearms on campus.
A proposal before the 131st Maine Legislature would allow trained school employees carry a firearm while on the job. LD52: An Act to Allow Certain School Employees to Carry Firearms on School Property, was presented by Representative Steven Foster, (R) of Dexter. As the title states, the bill would allow a school employee carry and discharge a firearm on school property. The bill would also require a school board to create a training and certification process for armed employees.
The bill summery reads:
This bill exempts a school employee from the prohibition on possessing a firearm on public school property or the property of an approved private school or discharging a firearm within 500 feet of public school property or the property of an approved private school if the school employee has successfully completed certification and training prescribed by the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and has been authorized by the school board to possess or discharge a firearm for the purpose of enhancing the safety and security of the school and in defense of students, staff and members of the public on the school premises. The bill provides that the school employee is not authorized to exercise law enforcement powers.
The bill allows a school board to establish a certification standard and a training program to arm and supervise certain school employees in a manner and according to protocols as the school board determines. The bill specifies that a school board may not arm a school employee without the employee's voluntary consent and a school employee may not be censured or discriminated against for unwillingness or refusal to carry a firearm.
According to the bill, the school employee must voluntary consent to carrying a firearm. The language of the bill also protects employees from being "censured or discriminated against for unwillingness or refusal to carry a firearm."
Maine law prohibits anyone (except law enforcement officials) from possessing a firearm on school property, or discharging a firearm within 500 feet of school property. In essence, the bill would repeal these statutes for trained employees, so they can lawfully carry on campus. The bill doesn't designate whether personnel would carry open, or concealed, while on the job.
The bill still has many hurtles it must clear before becoming Maine law. The bill has only been filed for the legislative session, so far, and has yet to be voted on by the legislature.