Louisiana Senate Committee Approves Bulletproof Backpacks On School Campuses

Mar 27, 2018

As the country continues to grapple with how to protect against gun violence on school campuses, a handful of members in the Louisiana Legislature have introduced ideas of their own. 

Two of those measures went in front of a Senate Judiciary committee Monday. Both were a response to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month, where 17 students were killed. 

Sen. Neil Riser presented Senate Bill 406 to the Senate Judiciary C committee Monday, March 26. It would have allowed certain parents or retired teachers to carry a concealed weapon on school campuses.
Credit Wallis Watkins

“There’s just not one sure-fire way to protect our kids. There’s just not,” said Sen. Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe).

Walsworth wants to allow students to carry bulletproof backpacks. As of now, it's against the law to wear body armor on school campuses. But Walsworth says students need to know they have a way to defend themselves.

His bill made it out of committee without objection. But, members weren't as supportive of a measure from Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia).

It would have allowed certain parents or retired teachers to carry a concealed weapon on campus, acting as security guards, as long as the school's principal had given them permission. Only those who are in the military or a veteran and have a concealed handgun permit would qualify.

Sen. Riser called the people who carry out school shootings domestic terrorists, and right now, he says there's not enough being done to stop them.

"Deadly force requires deadly force," he told the committee.

Just last weekend, thousands in Louisiana — and hundreds of thousands across the nation — took to the streets calling for tougher gun laws.

Ryan Shaw, a member of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, told members this is not the type of reform they want.

"Unfortunately," she said, "the bill this committee is considering today is another bill that does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories and instead, relies on arming our citizens as a solution to gun violence."

The bill failed to get enough support to make it out of committee.