BY PHILLIP LOWE

I introduced a bill in the South Carolina House giving trained school employees the choice to carry a weapon to defend themselves and our children.

With just one exception, every public shooting in the U.S. since 1950 in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.

Schools are gun-free zones. Instead of making our children safer, gun-free zones have become a target-rich environment where our children are sitting ducks.

We must allow employees the chance to defend our schools. Gun-free zones are targeted because there is no fear of resistance.

The deranged person desires the most press coverage to spread his own psychotic misery over society.

Since the Second Amendment guarantees us the right to defend ourselves, any establishment that forces citizens to disarm should be responsible for their security.

One armed guard cannot possibly cover all areas of vulnerability. Buses, playgrounds and multi-building campuses create too many locations for one person to defend.

Schools would need to be surrounded by prison fences and airport security to be safe.

One shot could kill the guard and the assailant could have their way until authorities arrive.

Multiple, well-trained school employees can respond to gunfire and end the nightmare sooner.

In states allowing concealed weapons, the number of multiple-victim public shooting deaths has declined by 90 percent.

Adding armed resource officers at our unguarded schools will cost $25 million annually. My proposal does not take money away from school budgets. It relies on existing state employees who choose to get training.

Guns are already in schools. Resource officers carry them daily. It is time we discuss the amount of training our willing school employees need to safely and effectively defend our children.

Many school employees who have contacted me wanting this responsibility.

America is filled with potential heroes in all walks of life.

If National Guardsmen can be teachers, why can’t teachers be guards?

The bill requires completion of a concealed weapons course with a SLED background check and expert marksmanship. Employees cannot have any history of unmanaged anger, and school boards have the final say.

Weapons must remain concealed on person at all times. Frangible bullets are required to reduce ricochets.

“Smart gun” technology can render the weapon inoperable to anyone other than the owner, preventing unintended use by a student.

A combination of well-trained school employees and resource officers is our best solution.

The debate should be focused on how much training is needed for brave school employees to defend our children.

Phillip Lowe, R-Florence, represents District 60 in the S.C. House of Representatives.