AUSTIN - Texas school districts that allow employees to carry handguns for the protection of students do not violate state laws banning concealed firearms at school sporting events or during school board meetings, Attorney General Greg Abbott said in an opinion released Friday.
Although firearms generally are banned in those places by other state laws, Abbott said the state’s so-called “guardian plan,” approved a year ago for mostly rural school districts that cannot afford to hire security, provides an exception.
Abbott said employees or school trustees specifically authorized by school district administrators to carry concealed weapons will not run afoul of the other laws specifying the prohibited places.
State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, last fall had asked Abbott for an opinion on the matter after several Texas school districts began authorizing employees to carry concealed weapons on campus, and several questioned whether the state’s gun laws limited their work areas.
In his ruling, Abbott said it also covers school marshals, school employees who are designated to carry concealed weapons on duty for security purposes under another state law.
The laws were approved a year ago amid controversy over allowing Texas school districts to beef up security in the aftermath of the December 2012 attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 26, including 20 students. Supporters insisted that having trained, armed employees could thwart an attack, while opponents claimed putting more weapons in schools was not the answer unless they were carried by trained police officers.