School boards: Let districts decide gun policies

Statement issued before Friday hearing on legislation

KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 11:45 AM PDT April 3, 2013    UPDATED: 11:12 PM PDT April 3, 2013 
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SALEM, Ore. -

School board members and the executive director of the Oregon School Boards Association say they will testify Friday 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 Wednesday. "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.