Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed a school safety bill into law on Friday, that requires school resource officers to carry a firearm. Effective immediately, every school in the state will now have at least one armed police officer on guard.
What are the details?
The legislation was passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support in both Republican-controlled chambers of the Kentucky legislature. Beshear, a Democrat, took the full ten days allowed to take action on the measure, and finally opted Friday to sign it into law rather than veto it or allow it to become law without his signature, the Lexington Herald-Leader explained.
“I simply cannot ask a school resource officer to stop an armed gunman entering a school without them having the ability to not only achieve this mission, but also to protect themselves,” Beshear said during a press conference, according to the Courier-Journal. He added, “We must be able to stop the worst of the worst.”
The new law modifies a 2017 law that required every school in Kentucky to have a school resource officer on site for security purposes. The earlier legislation, however, was mum on whether or not the officers would carry a firearm. The law signed by Beshear on Friday requires those officers to be armed.
Beshear had faced pressure from civil rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, to veto the bill. The Hill reported that opponents of the bill “warned that the new law would not make schools safer and would create dangerous situations for students of color.”
Republicans hailed the new law on Friday, with Senate Education Chairman Max Wise (R) — who sponsored the bill in the Senate — calling its signing “an incredibly important day for the commonwealth.” The lawmaker told the Herald-Leader, “This new legislation, which goes into effect immediately, is crucial to the General Assembly’s continued efforts to protect Kentucky’s children, teachers and staff by improving the safety of our schools.”