This afternoon, the Senate defeated Senator Tom Garrett’s (R-Buckingham) SB 1132, a bill to allow guns onto school property outside of “normal school hours” – that is, at times when communities of faith, civic organizations, and other outside groups could easily be using school facilities. The bill failed on a near-party-line vote of 18-20, with three Republicans joining Senate Democrats in opposition.
Senator Barbara Favola (D – Arlington) spoke against SB 1132: “Allowing guns onto school property will make our children less safe. I don’t doubt the good intentions of lawful concealed carriers, but accidents happen and firearms can kill. Instead of tempting fate by bringing guns into schools, we should be working to enact common-sense laws that keep guns out of the hands of small children, criminals, and the mentally ill.”
Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) said, “Our schools in Fairfax are constantly being used by groups that are school-sanctioned and by groups that are not. The provision that guns be allowed so long as it is not a school-sanctioned event — in that case you have to prove if you are prosecuting that they knew this was a school sanctioned event. If passed, this law would be impossible to explain to prosecutors, to gun owners, to parents, and to everyone else.”