West Virginia Senate passes bill to establish the West Virginia Guardian program

WTAP News @ 6 - W.Va. Senate passes SB 282
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 6:47 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WTAP) - The West Virginia State Senate on Monday passed a bill that seeks to add armed guardians to public schools.

Senate Bill 282 would establish the West Virginia Guardian program. The program would allow retired military or law enforcement officers to act as independent contractors to provide armed security in West Virginia public schools.

These guardians would be allowed to carry concealed fire arms and would serve to protect school students and faculty from “violence, bullying, theft, substance abuse, the sale or use of illegal substances, exposure to weapons, and threats on school grounds.”

Counties would choose whether or not to opt into the program and utilize these security services.

Senator Eric Tarr (R - Putnam), the bill’s lead sponsor, said during Monday’s floor session that the legislation was inspired by concerns raised to himself and other members of the Senate.

“Initially I had a conversation down in Winfield, West Virginia about this with two Special Forces veteran who had concerns about school safety and were wanting to construct a mechanism by which men who were trained professionals to run at a gun could be at our schools with a gun,” said Sen. Tarr. “To be able to go, should there be any instance in our schools where our children or teachers or anybody else that’s in that building is unsafe because of somebody bringing a gun in there illegally.”

The legislation will next be considered by the West Virginia House of Delegates.