(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has introduced a bill in the House that would allow teachers to carry firearms onto public school grounds. Gun-control groups call it an "extremist" bill.
H.R. 2613, the Citizens Protection Act of 2011, would repeal the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and remove all federally created criminal safety zones.
The Gun-Free School Zones Act makes it “unlawful for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone.”
Paul’s office did not return calls or e-mails for comment to CNSNews.com, but the group Gun Owners of America said the Citizens Protection Act is needed for self-protection purposes.
In a news release, the group argued that the Gun-Free School Zones Act protects criminals, asserting that such attacks as Columbine, Virginia Tech and Fort Hood “all occurred in government facilities where the private possession of firearms was prohibited.”
“It’s time to say NO to criminal safe zones,” the release said. “And a great place to start is the blatantly unconstitutional Gun-free School Zones Act.”
Gun control groups oppose Paul’s bill. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) said the bill would threaten the safety of American families.
“It’s a horrific piece of legislation that will present a direct threat to public safety,” CSGV Communications Director Ladd Everitt told CNSNews.com in an e-mail.
“‘Gun-free zones,’ despite the gun lobby’s propaganda, are far and away the safest places in our country," said Everitt.
He also said that the proposed bill represents the belief of “extremist groups” thwarting public support.
“Rep. Paul’s legislation is the latest in a series of extreme pieces of legislation to come from the National Rifle Association,” he clarified in the e-mail. “Bills like this have no public support whatsoever and seek to elevate the interests of the gun industry and a tiny minority of gun owners over the wishes, well-being, and safety of American families in communities across the United States.”
Paul’s bill would allow teachers and other individuals to carry guns onto high school and middle-school campuses.
After the 2005 shootings at Columbine High School and Platte Canyon, two high schools in Colorado, some pro-gun groups said that repealing the School Zones Act would make schools safer.
As CNSNews.com reported in 2008, after an armed man shot a 16-year old girl in Platte Canyon High School, a pro-gun group argued that it could have been prevented if other people could have carried firearms.
Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said at that time that all the law has done “is create target-rich, no-risk environments for monsters who have no fear of encountering an armed teacher or administrator, or a legally armed private citizen who might happen to be in the building.”
The legislation has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.