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California lawmakers considering bills to address school gun violence

Two new plans in the works, one to tax firearms to pay for school counseling and the other to require schools to hire armed guards.

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 7:48 AM

California lawmakers are considering two new guns bills.

The "School Gun Violence Prevention Act" would tax firearm and ammunition sales in order to fund more school counselors.

This bill would basically require a school counselor at every middle and junior high school in California, and their main responsibility would be to detect and report early warning signs of threats.

The firearms tax would also go toward a grant opportunity for law enforcement officers to fund a school resources officer's program at high schools.

In a time when gun violence is becoming more prevalent on school campuses, North State residents still have mixed feelings on what sounds like a "sin-tax'.

"Firearms are easily accessible and they should be taxed, they tax smokers in the same regard and have that money go back into our community, that would be a good idea," said Magalia resident Emilee Hushour.

"It's unfair because I'm not purchasing a gun to shoot up a school to hurt someone, I'm purchasing a gun to put meat in my fridge and feed my family," said Paradise resident Cammy Royal.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper who's behind the bill says this would fill in the holes from statewide budget cuts to counseling services.

There's still no plan for the exact percentage, but the bill will start making its way through committee hearings in the coming weeks.

This isn't the only move by lawmakers to prevent gun violence on school campuses; some leaders believe more guns will help keep students safe

California Assemblyman Jim Gallagher has introduced a bill that would arm school guards.

Gallagher says the Rancho Tehama Elemetary shooting really motivated this bill, and this week in Maryland, Gallagher points out that the school resources officer on campus actually stopped the shooter and likely prevented the loss of many lives.

Gallagher says because of the state law that bans anyone, including teachers, from conceal-carrying firearms, it unfortunately makes students a target.

He says this could be a preventative measure as well, and be used to address issues like bullying.

In terms of financing the program? it's not going to come from the schools' budgets.

The state of California would reimburse the districts for the cost of hiring an officer.

They'll discuss the potential costs of this as the bill moves through committee.

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