An NRA-backed bill in Idaho that would allow public school teachers and staff to arm themselves on school grounds jumped its first legislative hurdle, advancing out of a House committee on Wednesday.
“NRA-backed HB 415 underscores our commitment to children’s safety, empowering trained, responsible school employees to carry concealed firearms. This bill reflects our belief in protecting the vulnerable by securing schools,” NRA Idaho Director Aoibheann Cline told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
“Additionally, HB 415 ensures the privacy and strategic advantage of these defenders by keeping their permit details confidential and exempt from public records disclosures. It sends a clear message: we are dedicated to school safety and steadfast in defending the Second Amendment.”
Republicans on the House State Affairs Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to advance the bill, which will now head to the House floor.
State Rep. Edward Hill, a Republican, introduced House Bill 415 on Monday, which would allow teachers and other school staff to conceal carry on school grounds, and also protect the identities of those armed from public records requests.
“There’s a desperate need to secure our schools against people who want to harm our children,” Hill told the Idaho Statesman earlier this month. “We want to close that gap, those critical 3-5 minutes where all the carnage happens.”
The bill would only allow Idaho school employees with “enhanced” concealed weapons permits to carry on school grounds. Enhanced permits are the more in-depth version of the state’s standard concealed carry license, requiring eligible residents 21 and older to complete eight hours of specified firearm training and a background check.
Under the bill, armed staff would have “immediate control” of their firearms, meaning the gun would be concealed somewhere on their person, and would have to inform the school’s principal they are carrying a concealed weapon and produce their enhanced concealed carry license.
School leadership, however, would not need to tell the school board which staffers are armed. The school would need to keep a list of staffers armed on campus, along with their photos, to share with law enforcement.
The identities of armed teachers would additionally be exempt from public records and would protect teachers from civil or criminal liability for using their firearms during “a lethal threat.”
“No school employee shall be held civilly or criminally liable for deciding to engage or not to engage in an armed confrontation during a lethal threat to safety inside of a school or on school property,” the bill reads.
Public comment on the bill was held Wednesday ahead of the committee vote, where some critics argued teachers did not request the legislation, and others said the presence of more guns during a violent situation could lead to additional carnage.
“As far as we can see, no educators are actually asking for this,” Paul Stark, executive director of the Idaho Education Association, told the committee, according to the Idaho Education News reported. “There has been some testimony this session about not trusting librarians with books, but this trusts librarians with a Glock.”
Cline told Fox News Digital that children deserve the “strongest shield” against tragedy, and that the legislation would provide that protection.
“Our children deserve nothing less than the strongest shield against evil, and HB 415 delivers that protection,” she said.