Rep. Thomas Massie reintroduces bill to let governments allow guns in school zones

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U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie has reintroduced a bill to eliminate the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, the Kentucky legislator announced this week.

The "Safe Students Act" would let local and state governments and school boards set their own rules about whether guns are allowed within school zones, a Thursday release from Massie's office said. The bill, first introduced in 2007 by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, would eliminate a law that makes it illegal for anybody to have a firearm within a school zone.

The bill was cosponsored by nealy two-dozen other Republican lawmakers.

“Gun-free zones are ineffective and make our schools less safe. Since 1950, 94 percent of mass public shootings have occurred in places where citizens are banned from having guns,” Massie said in the release, citing an op-ed from pro-gun Crime Prevention Research Center. “Banks, churches, sports stadiums, and many of my colleagues in Congress are protected with firearms. Yet children inside the classroom are too frequently left vulnerable.”

This is not the first time Massie has reintroduced the "Safe Students Act." He brought the legislation forward last April as well, and in 2019, 2017 and 2015, according to press releases from his office.

The move comes about a week after Massie, a Republican representative from Northern Kentucky who co-chairs the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, had a heated discussion with U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman on their views regarding gun safety at school, prompted in the aftermath of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville.

In the March 30 exchange seen in a viral video, Bowman was telling reporters that lawmakers are not taking action "to save the lives of our children" and called colleagues who don't support gun control "cowards." Massie, who was nearby during the exchange, argued no school shootings have happened in states where teachers are allowed to carry guns, which prompted Bowman to say the Kentucky representative was "carrying the water for the gun lobby." Massie asked Bowman to calm down, to which Bowman responded, "Calm down? Children are dying."

Gun access has been in the national spotlight since the Covenant School shooting, which occurred on March 27 and left three adults and three 9-year-old children dead.

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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Thomas Massie moves to let governments choose to allow guns in schools