South Dakota Now Allows Teachers To Carry Guns In School

South Dakota’s Governor has signed into law a bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in school:

Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed the “school sentinels” bill letting schools arm volunteer defenders.

Hotly debated this legislative session, it was pitched as a way for small schools without nearby law enforcement to protect themselves against shooters or other dangers.

They also emphasized the local choice — no school would be forced to implement a sentinels program.

This sounds like the kind of bill that would work well for a place for South Dakota perhaps, but I’m not sure about an inner city school.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed for too young in July 2021.

Comments

  1. Ben says:

    What could possibly go wrong?

  2. Boyd says:

    This is something I always thought I understood, but when I stop and think about it, I don’t get the rationale. Why are guns okay in rural areas, but a bad idea in cities? If the issue is unfamiliarity, training can easily overcome that. Are people in cities somehow less capable to handle firearms than their rural counterparts? (I don’t think so, Gertrude.) Are classrooms or school hallways different out in the boonies than they are in the big city?

    I don’t get it.

  3. Gustopher says:

    @Boyd: guns in schools are a terrible idea, but no one cares about rural areas?

    That’s the only explanation I can think of.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Boyd:

    Are classrooms or school hallways different out in the boonies than they are in the big city?

    It is the parents of the students that are different. Around here, everyone has guns and their kids are familiar with them. In the cities? Not so much. In other words rural parents are far more comfortable with the idea of armed teachers than urban parents.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ben:

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Why nothing, of course.

    A New York town that began assigning an armed police officer to guard a high school in the wake of the Connecticut massacre has suspended the program after an officer accidentally discharged his pistol in a hallway while classes were in session.

    Fortunately, no one was injured.

  6. Boyd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m not asking about the difference in attitudes between the locales, that’s well documented. Why do people, such as Doug in this post, believe that it’s okay to have guns out in the country, but guns are a bad idea in the city? I’ve heard people say this a lot over the years, but no one ever seems to back it up with their reasoning.

  7. SKI says:

    @Boyd: One possible reason:
    Rural areas are more sparsely populated and people are more likely to know each other (and each others families). In urban areas, there are more people that are literally strangers.

    While familiarity may breed contempt, it also decreases random shootings and the fear of the stranger that leads to escalated situations.

  8. Rusty Shackleford says:

    @Boyd:
    Completely agree. I think there is just an image conjured of rugged/rural/independent Americans for whom gun ownership is natural and acceptable. Friends of mine have stated that owning a pistol or semi-automatic rifle (or guns at all for that matter) make sense for someone living out in the country or camping where cops may be an hour or two away. However I’m not sure what type of emergency could arise where a gun is needed and 6-8 minutes wait for a cop is acceptable but an hour isn’t. A farmhand or camper with a pistol just seems natural though and is deemed acceptable.

  9. al-Ameda says:

    Thank god South Dakota is moving to solve a non-problem.

  10. PogueMahone says:

    They also emphasized the local choice — no school would be forced to implement a sentinels program.

    Well… They should thank their lucky stars.

    Here in Texas, they want to allow guns on college campuses, regardless of what the college (or their students for that matter) wants.

    Under the bill, higher ed institutions will not have a right to impose bans or penalties on students who are licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

    In short, even if the college staff, professors, students, administrators, and their dogs, don’t want to allow guns on campus… Too bad.

    Thanks, state Republicans, for allowing the neurotic, insecure, socially immature 21 yr old kid sitting at the back of the classroom to be packing heat.

    As Ben said… what could possibly go wrong?

    Cheers.

  11. Septimius says:

    @Boyd: Because people in urban areas are poor and it would be an extreme burden for them to obtain the proper permit to carry a firearm in a school. Some of them might have to take multiple city buses just to get to the courthouse to obtain a permit. Bus fare costs money. Plus, they would have to take off of work, which many of them cannot afford to do.

  12. Boyd says:

    @al-Ameda: Kinda like banning firearms and accessories that would have no effective impact on murders in general or mass shootings in particular, eh?

  13. Boyd says:

    @PogueMahone: Another in the long list of tragic results that never materialize. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

  14. Moosebreath says:

    @Boyd:

    The answer I saw in the past comment threads was that police in rural areas are farther away, and thus there is more need for guns for self-defense. Not sure I agree, but that was the rationale.

  15. PogueMahone says:

    @Boyd:
    Wow. Talk about your cognitive dissonance…

    Why are guns okay in rural areas, but a bad idea in cities?

    Right. Because being allowed to carry a firearm in schools is exactly the same as a farmer with a .30-06 on his gun rack in his truck.

    So, Boyd, you don’t believe there is any distinction between a crowded school full of children and the open countryside? What about bars? In Texas, we don’t allow firearms in establishments that sell alcohol. Couldn’t you say the same thing about bars? Why aren’t people in bars allowed to carry guns in bars? Because guns and alcohol don’t mix… same as guns and schools.

    We draw lines. We always have. If you can’t see the difference between carrying a gun in highly populated ares vs carrying guns in the countryside, … well, I believe you can.

    Cheers.

  16. Boyd says:

    @PogueMahone: It’s always easier to “win” an argument when you put words in your opponent’s mouth.

    My question was very specific, and was primarily directed toward the author of the post, Doug Mataconis. Sorry if that wasn’t apparent, but since you can’t seem to follow the discussion, there’s no point in continuing it with you. You’ll just argue against a point I didn’t make, if you follow the same pattern you’ve shown so far.

    @Moosebreath: Yes, and I think Rusty addressed that pretty well.

  17. legion says:

    @Boyd:

    If the issue is unfamiliarity, training can easily overcome that.

    It _can_, but it typically _doesn’t_. In a rural setting, using a firearm to deal with “varmints” (the 4-footed kind, not the political kind) is relatively common. The mindset of responsible use is far more likely (though by no means universal) than in a randomly chosen urban family. It’s also a sparser population – if Fred the Town Drunk wants to buy a gun, the only gun store in the county is likely not to want to serve him. In a larger city, Fred can get what he wants from someone who doesn’t know him.

    Handing someone a gun – even making them take a CCW test – doesn’t magically make them responsible (or safe to be around). Worthwhile background checks and functional training and liability requirements are at least a few steps in the right direction.

  18. PogueMahone says:

    @Boyd: Oh, well, I just thought you were being coy.

    Put words into your mouth then. What’s the difference between carrying guns in rural areas, but not in urban areas…particularly pertaining to schools? Because your question suggests that you don’t believe there is any.

    But, please, correct me if I’m wrong.

    Cheers.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    I think it comes down to the fact that someone being an idiot with a gun in the country is probably more likely to do himself in than someone else. Being a nut with a gun in the city ends up with more dead people.

    Also the fact that people in the country are more likely to grow up with guns and being taught how to use them responsibly. When we think of someone carrying a gun in the city, it’s more likely “young punk with gun” that comes to mind.

    Although those nitwits in suburbia who were shooting at targets right next to houses also fall into this category…

    Can’t we just make sure that dumb idiots, or people with anger issues, don’t get guns?

  20. al-Ameda says:

    @Boyd:

    @al-Ameda: Kinda like banning firearms and accessories that would have no effective impact on murders in general or mass shootings in particular, eh?

    I agree, the cult of gun ownership in America is so strong that, there is effectively, nothing we can do about the occasional mass shootings and killings in America. 315 million people plus over 300 million guns pretty much ensures that.

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Can’t we just make sure that dumb idiots, or people with anger issues, don’t get guns?

    Adam Lanza’s situation shows that we apparently cannot do that.

    Also, South Dakota’s law should be titled the “The Teacher Will Be The First Target” law. Now, anyone in South Dakota who wants to shoot up a classroom knows to take out the teacher first. I suppose that the next law coming out of South Dakota will be to arm the kids?

  22. I live in rural Montana. My nearest neighbor is custodian at my kids’ elementary school. He has multiple weapons, harvested two deer and an elk last fall to feed his family. He would be a perfect candidate for a voluntary in-school carry law, better than most police and deputy sheriffs. I would happily entrust my kids safety and well being to the man.

  23. Just nutha igrant cracker says:

    @Let’s Be Free: Thank you for reestablishing that there is always one outlier that can be used to in/validate any argument for all conditions.