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Oregon School Board Association in Favor of Local Gun Decisions
FlashAlert Salem – School board members and the executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA) will testify Friday morning in favor of allowing local districts to determine whether guns will be allowed in K-12 schools.
Their testimony will come during hearings planned at the state Capitol for four gun-safety bills before the Senate Judiciary Committee. One of the bills, Senate Bill 347 (and its -3 and -4 amendments) would establish statewide policy prohibiting carrying a gun inside a K-12 school building, but local districts could vote to opt out of the policy.
That nod to local control is important to the nearly 1,400 school board members represented by OSBA, said Betsy Miller-Jones, the organization’s executive director.
“One of our core beliefs is that the best judges of local school policy are the individuals who live in those communities,” she said. “What works for Portland or Eugene isn’t necessarily the right fit for residents in Burns or Boardman.”
School board members, despite their varying views on gun-control issues, support allowing local communities to decide whether guns will be allowed in school buildings.
Samuel Lee III, a member of the Winston-Dillard School Board and OSBA Board of Directors, said he doesn’t want to see restrictions on gun rights, and that his own district would probably opt out of the policy.
“Some of our schools out here in rural America can’t always rely on the police for a quick response from town,” Lee said. “Giving local communities the option of opting out is important.”
Bobbie Regan, a Portland Public Schools Board member and secretary-treasurer of the OSBA Board, said local control is the key.
“The Portland school board passed a policy years ago prohibiting weapons on school property,” Regan said. “What I appreciate about this bill is it allows school boards to determine what feels appropriate for their particular communities.”
The committee also plans to take testimony on other gun-related bills – SB 699, SB 700 and SB 796. The hearing is planned from 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday in Hearing Room 50, State Capitol. Links to the bills can be found at https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2013R1/Committees/SJUD/2013-04-05-08-30/Agenda