The Left and their media allies are misrepresenting an insurance bill scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday morning. Contrary to circulating myths in the mainstream media, Kansas House Bill 2789, also known as the SAFER Act, doesn’t “open the door” to arming teachers as KSHB 41 TV claims. The door is already open, but discriminatory insurance practices have ensured no one walks through it.
“We already have a law that allows us to arm teachers,” Rep. Blake Carpenter, a Derby Republican explains. “That’s been the law since 2013.”
The current proposal prevents insurance companies from charging school districts unfair or discriminatory premiums or fees, or refusing to cover, districts that allow concealed carry. To date, insurers have prevented districts from allowing their staff to carry concealed weapons.
“This bill keeps insurance rates low,” Carpenter says.
In order to facilitate lower rates and greater safety, the proposal creates more specialized gun training requirements for school staff. School staff must be hold a carry and conceal license, and pass a law enforcement qualification shooting test with at least a 70 percent.
“They’re passing a higher bar of a test. We’re thinking that will help lower the rates. That’s the thought process behind that,” Carpenter says.
KSHB-TV quotes parents reading through the bill with growing alarm. The cause of their terror? They won’t know if their children’s teacher is carrying a concealed weapon. That’s because the bill carves out an open records exemption. As an additional safety precaution, only school boards and administrators would know which teachers are permitted to carry concealed weapons in their schools.
According to the television station, parents also are scared by the bill’s requirements that the state board of education develop standards for school and security plans and offer school boards the option of providing firearm safety programs.
The legislation includes a negligence presumption. If a district doesn’t have a conceal carry policy and there is a school shooting, the district faces a greater liability.
“It’s not that hard to pass a conceal carry policy in a school district,” Carpenter says.
The Derby Republican says there’s a lot of misinformation about the bill circulating in the media. One thing the legislation does not do: mandate teachers carry handguns or mandate that school boards allow concealed weapons in their school buildings. The legislation gives them another tool for school safety and security by limiting insurance costs.
“We already allow conceal carry in schools, and it’s not mandatory,” Carpenter says. “It’s voluntary, and the local school board gets to decide.”