A new bill proposed in South Carolina could change the zero tolerance policy toward guns currently in place in public schools by requiring second amendment-related curriculum.
“The second amendment should be freely debated in schools and instead the second amendment is being squelched in our schools,” said Rep. Alan Clemmons, R – Horry County.
Clemmons said the idea came to him upon hearing of a Summerville student who was punished after he turned in a fictional story about shooting his neighbor’s dinosaur.
The legislation, referred to as The Second Amendment Education Act of 2015, would allow children to reasonably express the second amendment while at school without the fear of being punished for doing so.
“If we let that go unchecked, the second amendment will cease being a freedom enjoyed under the United States Constitution,” Rep. Clemmons said.
For three weeks out of the year, classwork would focus on the Constitution, paying particular attention to why the second amendment about the right to bear arms was chosen to be included in the Bill of Rights.
The state superintendent of education would create the curriculum for the three-week curriculum with the help of the National Rifle Association. Topics covered would include the history of the amendment and important legal cases pertaining to gun rights.
In addition, Clemmons would like to see December 15th become “Second Amendment Awareness Day” for all grade levels. Students would be encouraged to write essays and make posters focused on the Second Amendment, and submit them for the General Assembly Sportsman’s Caucus to judge, reports Amy Lipman for WMBF News.
“At one point we just got so afraid of anything that had the word gun in it that we pulled it away from children, and I think it’s time that we get back into it and bring it back,” said Robert Battista, owner of 707 Gun Shop in Socastee.
The bill would also prohibit teachers from punishing students for their creative works that include mention of firearms, writes Chris Eger for Guns.com.
However, there are critics of the plan, who suggest that schools need gun safety education rather than using the classroom time specifically for the history of the second amendment.
“In South Carolina, I think kids pretty much know. This is the South and gun ownership is pretty common around here, so I don’t know that it’s going to be beneficial,” said Mylissa Bellamy, director of the Matthew Bellamy Project, which was founded after Bellamy’s 11-year-old son Matthew was accidentally shot and killed by a 12-year-old when the two found a gun.
The first hearing for the bill will be in the education committee when the legislative session opens next week.