Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Concealed firearm in school board meeting

At last evening's Richland 2 School Board meeting there was a man carrying a concealed firearm in the meeting room just before the meeting started. I had noticed him in the room, wearing a cap with some type of image, and then I observed the "imprint" of a possible firearm under his shirt. A little later as he walked from the front of the room to the exit door in the back of the room, his sweatshirt had ridden up to reveal the butt of a semi-automatic pistol in an inside-the-belt holster.

People in the room seemed to know him, and I am not alarmed in the presence of concealed firearms, even though I know it is illegal for most citizens to carry them on school property.

After a speaker addressed the board during the public participation segment, he left the room, and I followed because I wanted to learn more about his topic. I'll have to wait for the YouTube recording, as most of his words were lost in space, even though I was sitting only two rows behind him.

In the lobby the man with the concealed firearm was speaking to him. As I waited, I noticed there was a logo on his shirt for Richland 2 and "Emergency Services". Upon inquiring at the information desk, I learned he might be the assistant manager of some department. Emergency Services usually includes a wide range of services.

If the Richland 2 School Board is going to permit certain employees to be armed, I wonder if they have made a decision about concealed-carry by employees in civilian attire and how a visitor, parent or other employee is to know that that person is legally on campus with a firearm.

Obviously, the man's firearm should have been concealed at all times, and a shirt or sweatshirt should be long enough in the back to cover the firearm. "Printing" is a concern, because then the carrier's firearm is not fully concealed. But visible is different than "printing".

Should District 2 have a policy that armed employees are to wear a uniform that clearly identifies them as armed school security personnel? Examples might be a shirt with a badge, the word "Security" (it would not be permissible to use "Police"), or a school security badge worn in a belt holder. Could a school security officer even legally carry a firearm in a holster on his belt?

Or perhaps District 2 ought to just authorize any law-abiding citizen to carry concealed on campus and issue the appropriate written authorization, to be carried when armed on campus. That will happen right after the sun comes up in the West some morning!

When I looked for that man after talking with the speaker from the public participation segment, that man had apparently gone on to other duties. I didn't get a chance to ask him who he was or to introduce myself. How might he have responded if I had said, "I notice you are carrying a firearm. May I ask what your authority is to do so on campus?"