A 17 year-old from Montana has sponsored a bill to allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. In justifying his position, Chet Billi said he believes armed teachers are “more of a deterrent to violence in our schools than the current signs… that say No Firearms Allowed.” In proving his common sense approach to preventing violence, Billi stated that “the law is the last thing” on the mind of someone who wishes to do harm and putting “a gun in the victim’s hands” can quickly stop the violence. In addition to having a common sense solution to the threat of a school shooting, Billi is also adept at the Montana law-making process.
Billi has taken the first step in getting the bill on the 2016 ballot by getting the language approved by the Montana Attorney General’s office. He also understands the need to join forces with more powerful coalitions. In order to collect the necessary signatures, Billi wants to team up with gun stores. Although Billi has shown an acumen for common sense and the political process, like other gun right advocates, Billi will face opposition.
For example, the Montana School Superintendent, Denise Juneau, believes it is a “bad idea” and would rather depend on crisis-response protocols developed between schools and law enforcement.
In recent years, federal law enforcement has been pushing the Run. Hide. Fight. mantra for dealing with an active shooter. Billi’s proposal is not outside of this advice from law enforcement. However, instead of throwing staplers and chalk at an assailant, teachers could have a way to more quickly end the threat and protect children.
In this attempt at getting a law written, put on the ballot, and hopefully passed, a high school senior teaches more than just a common sense approach to prevent and mitigate active shooter incidents. Billi has reminded us that, at times, the pen can be mightier than the sword.