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'Guns in schools' bill passes ND House

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The North Dakota House has approved a measure to allow trained staffers to carry concealed firearms in schools.

The bill’s sponsor – Rep. Pat Heinert (R-Bismarck) – said the measure is aimed at rural schools that don’t have access to a “school resource officer” – and where response time from law enforcement is an issue.

"There are at least 8 small schools looking closely at this bill to determine if this would benefit their local school district," Heinert told the House. "We also heard there is a larger school district administrator who wants to take a close look at this program, to supplement his current SRO program."

Rep. Matt Eidson (D-Grand Forks) opposed it. He told the House that, as a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he knows what it’s like to be shot at. And he said there's no way to know how someone will react when shots are fired until it happens.

"To assume that any teacher, administrator or janitor could pick up a gun and stop an active shooter without harming themselves or someone else is wishful thinking, at best -- especially if they haven't been in a similar situation beforehand," Eidson said.

The bill passed 77 to 15 – and will now be considered in the Senate.

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