February 24, 1995 in City

House Bill Targets Gun-Toting Students

Associated Press

Students who bring guns to school would find themselves barred from campus for a full year if a bill that passed through the House Education Committee Thursday becomes law.

House Bill 1244, sponsored by Bill Brumsickle, R-Centralia, would require that students be expelled from school for one year if they possess a gun or destructive devices such as bombs, grenades and missiles.

The bill would allow students who were expelled to attend alternative schools, if their school districts had them.

It passed 15-4 and was sent to the House floor.

The bill is a response to congressional passage of the Gun Free Schools Act last year. Under the measure, each state must adopt a law requiring school districts to expel students for at least one year if they have firearms on school grounds. Any state that fails to adopt a law by Oct. 20 would lose federal funds.

Brumsickle said students with guns do not belong in school.

“I am concerned about the safety of all students,” Brumsickle said. “When some students bring guns to school, all students are put at risk.”

Peggy Johnson, R-Shelton, said passing the proposal would alert students that guns and schools don’t mix.”This legislation sends an extremely strong message that guns do not have any place in school, and we don’t want them there,” Johnson said.

But Grant Pelesky, R-Puyallup, said most students who carry guns to school aren’t looking for trouble.

“Ninety percent of students who bring guns to school do so to protect themselves,” Pelesky said.

Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, said she opposed the idea of telling school districts how to punish their own students.

“I believe very strongly for safety in schools, but I feel it is improper for us to demand school districts to expel students for one year,” Dickerson said.

© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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