ATLANTA — Two new measures have appeared at the state Capitol that aim to make schools safer in light of mass killings at a Florida school and elsewhere. But the resolutions, introduced by House and Senate Republicans, don't address the availability of guns.
The state Capitol upgraded its security this past winter – enhancing the banks of metal detectors that already make the seat of state government a gun-free zone. Airports have had tighter security ever since 9/11 – designed to keep guns and other weapons off of commercial airliners.
Now, state lawmakers are asking whether schools need similar upgrades. "We need to do the same thing based on current events for our schools," said state Sen. John Albers (R-Roswell), sponsor of a Senate resolution and a pro-second amendment Republican.
Albers and state Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) want to create two study committees from the House and Senate. The committees would would tour the state this summer, to meet with students, educators, first responders and others, to see how the state can enhance school security.
Albers says their work would be about securing schools, while sidestepping calls to restrict the general availability of guns. "This is about school safety," Albers said. "There are a lot of other folks working with firearms, as to mental health, which are very important too. But this is focused on school safety."
Albers says the challenge will be to make school safety recommendations that respect the cultural differences between rural and urban areas of Georgia. The committees would make policy or budget recommendations, then disband prior to next year’s session of the legislature.