Proposed Kentucky senate bill to appoint teachers and staff as marshals

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(WBKO) -- Republican State Senator Steve West of District 27 and Senator Ralph Alvarado of District 28, filed Senate Bill 103 in which school boards would appoint teachers or staff as "school marshals."

With one marshal for every 400 students, each marshal would have to obtain a concealed carry permit to have a firearm on school property.

Senator West said the type of weapon would compare to an officer-like firearm, and would be in a lock box at all times when not in use. The school marshal would be the only ones able to get into those boxes.

"My bill is primarily set up for active school shooter situations, and trying to prevent those. It would cost the school district nothing, basically, because the school marshal would be responsible for paying for all their own equipment- the guns, the boxes, everything," said Senator West.

The intent is that students would not know who that marshals are, similar to the idea of an air marshal. However, the marshals would be in contact with state police and other local law enforcement who would know who they are.

"My bill is aimed at providing those schools that can't afford an SRO (school resource officer) with tools or a way to protect themselves and their students. That's the goal of my bill," said Senator West.

Senator West said the opposing response is that people say there doesn't need to be more guns in school.

"I totally disagree with that logic. If more guns in school is not the answer, then all of our current schools that have security officers and SRO's, need to require their SRO's to get rid of their guns," said Senator West. "The best way to bring down an active shooter is with a gun."

"More of a school security bill than a school marshal bill," explained Senator West.

Initially filed in 2016, the bill did not pass. Senator West had planned to file the bill again this session, and when the Marshall County High School shooting occurred, he decided to file the bill the following day.

"I've always viewed this as a framework that we could work off of and change and adapt and develop, and I'm currently in the process of doing that," said Senator West. "If it goes anywhere, you'll probably see significant changes to the bill."

Senator Danny Carroll, who represents the district where Marshall County is located, is also working on his own bill while studying the concept of non-lethal force.

"We are looking into that as well. That is on the table," said West on collaborating with Carroll.

Carroll will be having a committee meeting, bringing in experts and interested parties to discuss this issue in March.

Senator Max Wise of District 16 and Senator West met with Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin this week regarding Senate Bill 103.

West said he believes Governor Bevin is on board with the concept of the bill, however, is not for Senate Bill 103 in its current form.

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