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Oklahoma governor unsure about school firearms bill

The governor said she wants to see the final version before commenting on whether she would sign it. The House passed a bill that would allow public school teachers or administrators who successfully complete a special course to bring loaded handguns to school.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: March 13, 2013 at 9:15 pm •  Published: March 14, 2013

Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, also was unsuccessful in getting amendments added to HB 1062; one would have provided vouchers to parents to send their children to private schools if they objected to having guns allowed in their public schools and the other would have made public schools provide cellphones in each grade in case of emergencies.

McCullough said school boards would pay for the cost of training; he is working to get $500,000 in state funds set aside to reimburse school boards. He estimates about 250 school teachers and administrators would volunteer to apply for the training in the first year the measure is in effect.

If the bill would become law and school boards approve the measure, the training would be voluntary for teachers and administrators.

HB 1062 would require three weeks of training to complete a special reserve school resource officer course. McCullough said the course is estimated to cost about $2,500 for each teacher or administrator. He said it's possible some law enforcement agencies wouldn't charge a fee or that a private individual or group would pay the cost of the training.

Rep. Steve Kouplen, D-Beggs, said guns in public schools should be the last option. He suggested bulletproof glass and other security issues should be tried first.

He also said lawmakers should appropriate more money to pay for the training.

“We always try to do it on the cheap,” Kouplen said.

Inman said Democrats were frustrated that the GOP-controlled House took 90 minutes to discuss the bill. Thursday is the deadline for the House to hear and send measures to the Senate to remain alive this year.

Inman said it was especially perturbing because he has been told that the Republican-controlled Senate won't hear the bill.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said no decision has been made. All the House bills will be reviewed and then assigned to committees.

“We will look at everything very seriously and give it all the proper attention that they need,” Bingman said. “I have no idea where anything is going at this point.”

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