Bill proposes guns at schools Lawmaker views plan as protection in cases like Va. Tech By Jonathan Tressler - The Sun News http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/142/story/50467.html A bill was introduced this week in the S.C. House of Representatives that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to bring their guns onto the grounds of public schools. House Bill 3964 was introduced Tuesday and would make it legal for people with a valid concealable weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon "while on the premises or property of a public educational institution." It also would allow concealed guns at school or college events. Area education officials said Wednesday they were surprised by the bill, which comes after the recent shooting deaths of 33 people at Virginia Tech, and a series of gun-related incidents in Horry County, including high schools in North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. Rep. Liston D. Barfield, R-Conway, who co-sponsored the bill, said he thinks allowing people who have been granted permits to carry their weapons onto school grounds might prevent a tragedy as great as the shootings last week at Virginia Tech. "If there would've been someone in a classroom there who was permitted to carry a pistol, he might have been able to stop [Seung-Hui Cho] from killing more people," Barfield said. "We've never had any problems with the people with permits. They have to go through law enforcement and be checked out before they get them. But the crooks are going to get guns regardless," Barfield said. "I don't think this is about gun control, though. I think this is about giving innocent citizens a chance to defend themselves." Fellow co-sponsor Rep. Alan C. Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach, concurred with Barfield. "What spurred this is real obvious: The tragedy at Virginia Tech. What would've happened if there had been a class member or a faculty member with a concealed weapon?" Clemmons said. "It's quite conceivable that if there had, the tragedy would have been far less extensive than it was." He said he thinks it "will be an interesting debate," but, like Barfield, doubts it will pass the general assembly this year. "I think it's probably getting late in the session year to have it happen this year," he said. The bill is one of thousands introduced, and would have to next be sent to a subcommittee for hearings. Clemmons said there is a rule in the legislature that if a bill has not passed from the Senate to the House or vice-versa by May 1, a two-thirds vote in favor of it is required instead of a simple majority. Coastal Carolina University's president-elect said he hopes the bill dies. "I just hope that we never get to a situation where we have students on campus, in class, armed," David DeCenzo said. He thinks the number of accidents would far outweigh any advantages of letting students carry guns, he said. "I certainly understand the reaction because of what happened at Virginia Tech, but I just don't see that as a solution," he said. Georgetown County Superintendent Randy Dozier said he is not surprised that the legislature has introduced a measure to allow guns on school campuses. He points to problems monitoring those who have weapons in schools. "If you really want to do something, then the thing to do is to spend more money on safety. We've spent thousands on cameras and lighting. If you really want to do something to help this, fund those resource officers. That could help monitor security. Give us the tools," Dozier said. He said the district had nine school resources officers at one point but had to reduce the number to five due to budget reasons. Horry Schools spokeswoman Teal Britton said she was shocked to learn about the proposed bill. "It's the kind of thing you read and you think it's a bad joke. It's so outrageous that it's even difficult to talk about," Britton said. "For anyone to put for a proposal that would put forth more weapons on campus is unthinkable," Britton said. Instead Britton recommends working toward gun laws that make it more difficult to acquire firearms, especially illegally and to penalize those who violate the laws. "If you don't have it, you can't use it," Britton said.