Assembly Bill 202 would exempt from public disclosure information on school employees authorized by a superintendent to carry a concealed weapon on campus. Under current law, the California Public Records Act requires disclosure of concealed weapon permit holders.
"It is disappointing at best that the committee members chose to lend their ears to anti-gun hysteria, rather than truly work to protect our kids and teachers," Donnelly said in a statement.
Donnelly said he modeled the concept after the air marshals program. The bill also authorized school districts to use general fund money to provide training for school marshals. A bill analysis pointed out that schools do not need legislation to do that. The Galt Joint Union Elementary School District recently voted to partner with the Galt Police Department to offer voluntary training to school personnel on how to handle and fire a gun. The district does not allow school staff to carry a firearm at school, according to the bill analysis.
Donnelly said the impetus of the bill is to ensure the next Vicki Soto is not left defenseless. Soto was a teacher who died in December trying to protect her students from a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Donnelly's bill, which was supported by the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, echoed a controversial proposal by the National Rifle Association that called for armed guards posted outside schools.
The bill was widely criticized by school and law enforcement groups, including the Association of California School Administrators, California Police Chiefs Association, the California Teachers Association, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The lone vote in favor of AB 202 was Assembly Education Committee Vice Chair Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto. Olsen pointed out that Donnelly's bill would not change laws on who can carry guns at schools, but rather would not disclose who those people are.
Education Committee Chair Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo, said she would want to know if one of her children's teachers was carrying a concealed weapon.
PHOTO CREDIT: Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, listens during session in the Assembly chambers in Sacramento on Monday, March 11, 2013. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee