Candidates say no guns for teachers


Staff Writer

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

In the wake of last month's Florida school shooting, the N.C. House has established a bipartisan Select Committee on School Safety.

Whoever wins the race for the seat in N.C. House District 7, which is made up of five precincts in southern Nash County and all of Franklin County, could end up on that committee. The incumbent already has been appointed.

N.C. Rep. Bobbie Richardson, D-Franklin, will face in November's general election the winner of the May primary between Republicans Lisa Barnes and Glen Bradley.

Barnes said she is glad N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore recently announced the select committee.

“This is an important first step to protecting our schools,” Barnes said. “When I’m elected, I look forward to working with Speaker Moore and the House to address our children’s safety.”

Richardson said she's looking forward to working with the newly formed committee to find bipartisan solutions.

“I believe that we need to adopt a multi-faceted approach, including more thorough background checks on gun purchasers and better mental health services,” Richardson said.

Bradley, a Youngsville businessman who previously served a term in the House, didn't reply to questions by presstime. On his campaign website he states, “I have a perfect voting record on defending and expanding gun rights.”

Barnes said it's important to examine all aspects of school security, including access control, surveillance, Student Resource Officers and mental health challenges, so lawmakers can better ensure the safety and peace of mind of students, parents and educators.

Richardson, a retired educator, said she doesn't support allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms on campus.

“As a former educator, I know that our teachers already have enough on their plates without having to worry about carrying weapons in the classroom,” Richardson said. “We need to focus on supporting our teachers by providing adequate funding and resources — not firearms.”

Barnes, a Nash County commissioner, said she wouldn't support teachers carrying firearms at school either.

“Although I have my concealed carry permit and support Second Amendment rights, I do not believe allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms on school grounds is the best solution to the school shooting crisis,” Barnes said. “Teachers should focus on education.”

Barnes said law enforcement is the best line of defense to protect schools from mass shootings.

“Our public safety officers are trained to protect and defend our citizens,” Barnes said. “We should make certain they have the resources they need to effectively do their job.”

This report is the second of three looking at the stance of local N.C. House candidates related to guns and schools.