The Problems With Senate Bill 383 Permitting Teachers To Carry Firearms In Pennsylvania

Recently, there has been a lot of public interest and questions asked about Pennsylvania Senate Bill 383, which seeks to provide school districts with the ability to approve school personnel to carry firearms in schools. As many of you are aware, I full support having armed school personnel in our schools; however, this bill suffers from many issues that appear to have never been considered.

First, it requires the school official to have a license to carry firearms (“LTCF”). Why is this of concern? Well, SB 383 fails to consider that LTCF applicant information is confidential and not subject to disclosure; whereby, the disclosure of such information is a felony of the 3rd degree and permits civil penalties. Specifically, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6111(g)(3.1) provides:

Any person, licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer or licensed importer who knowingly and intentionally obtains or furnishes information collected or maintained pursuant to section 6109 for any purpose other than compliance with this chapter or who knowingly or intentionally disseminates, publishes or otherwise makes available such information to any person other than the subject of the information commits a felony of the third degree.

Section 6111(i) then provides, in pertinent part:

Confidentiality.  All information provided by the … applicant, including, but not limited to, the … applicant’s name or identity, furnished by … any applicant for a license to carry a firearm as provided by section 6109 shall be confidential and not subject to public disclosure. In addition to any other sanction or penalty imposed by this chapter, any person, licensed dealer, State or local governmental agency or department that violates this subsection shall be liable in civil damages in the amount of $ 1,000 per occurrence or three times the actual damages incurred as a result of the violation, whichever is greater, as well as reasonable attorney fees.

Second, the bill does nothing to address the confidentiality of this information and how a school district is to protect the disclosure of this information. Who is entitled within the school district to see and have access to this information? Are logs to be kept of who views it and when? Is any training on the confidentiality of LTCF applicant information to be provided to school officials who have access to this information? If so, how frequently? Are logs to be kept of their training? These are all important issues that are not addressed, in any form, by the bill.

I also question why an LTCF is the determining criteria instead of the person being Act 235 certified. It would seem to be far more logical to me to remove the LTCF requirement and replace it with an Act 235 requirement.

Third, and most concerning is the fact that without the confidentiality of this information being addressed in SB 383, one wonders whether such information will be disclosed to the public, including through Right To Know Law (“RTKL”) requests. If so, now an individual intent on harming our children, including a potential terrorist or terrorist group, could learn, in advance, whether a school district has any armed personnel. If so, the criminal/terrorist is likely to target those school personnel first. If, on the other hand, a RTKL request comes back stating that there are no relevant records, such would highlight that there are no armed personnel and that the school is an extremely soft target.

Although I support arming our school personnel, SB 383 fails to address many significant concerns and therefore, I cannot support it in its current form. My hope is that the General Assembly takes action to correct SB 383.

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9 Comments

Filed under Firearms Law, Pennsylvania Firearms Law

9 responses to “The Problems With Senate Bill 383 Permitting Teachers To Carry Firearms In Pennsylvania

  1. Craig Bathurst

    Joshua, Contact Sean Maloney Esq. of Cincinnati, OH. – He is the founder of Second Call Defense and is involved in the F.A.S.T.E.R. program in Ohio.
    Maybe he can help you in some way with this legislation. Go to the Second Call Defense website to contact him.

    Like

    • I know Sean well. It isn’t a matter of not being able to write a proper law; it’s a matter of the General Assembly not reaching out to those who could identify the unintended consequences of a proposed bill, before submitting it for consideration.

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      • Craig Bathurst

        How we the citizen help to correct this situation? I work as a support staff at a public H.S. school. The school has a RSO. I work a second shift and the RSO leaves sometime after school is over. My greatest fear is a shooter situation after hours and I have no way of defending myself. I’m prohibited by law.

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  2. William R Clapie

    Sir, with this statement, you have opened Pandora’s box. How would you suggest closing it? I am very glad at times that I don’t work in the legal profession. Armed personnel in the school? Yes! Armed teachers frustrated with unions, students, parents and job requirements? Not sure. It has been suggested many times that we employ many military personnel and have many active reservists. Why not use the already trained folks to do this job that are getting paid anyhow?

    just sayin’
    bill

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig Bathurst

    That idea has been made on Lock and Load Radio with Bill Frady. But to get the State Legislature to authorize it, is another matter and who is going to pay for it. If my memory is correct, 25 States allow school personnel to receive training and be certified to conceal carry in their schools. They know the building and students. This has worked very well

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  4. Pingback: Weekly Gun News – Edition 59 | Shall Not Be Questioned

  5. Pingback: Absent Additional Amendments, Oppose Senate Bill 383 Permitting Teachers To Carry Firearms In Pennsylvania | Prince Law Offices, P.C.

  6. All parents should be informed as to which personnel are carrying deadly weapons and given the option to have their children placed in classrooms away from potential threats that might arise from the presence of deadly weapons in an educational environment–and this must include stipulations that students must be given equal opportunities when opting out of said situations. For example, if the armed teacher is the sole instructor of an AP course. or a certain elective, students whose families opt not to have them seated within the potential kill zone must be provided with access to those course options in a safe classroom setting.

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  7. William Clapie

    Release all the information to the general public you mean? Uh, no. That would undermine the very intention of “concealed”. If you know the school district shares the policy of armed, trained teachers, move.

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