A 17-year-old junior at Montana’s Whitefish High School is collecting signatures for a new bill that would allow employees with a concealed carry permit to be armed at school.
Chet Billi is tired of mass shootings at “gun-free” schools and is taking matters into his own hands. The teen started Initiative-175 and if he can collect the necessary signatures, it may just find its way to the 2016 ballot.
“It bothers me whenever we have a national tragedy such as a Sandy Hook or Columbine that the first thing people want to do is take guns away from the very people who could stop incidents like this,” said Billi. “The possibility that there could be a teacher carrying [on school grounds] I think is going to act as more of a deterrent to violence in our schools than the current signs we have outside our schools that say, “No Firearms Allowed.”
But Montana School Superintendent Denise Juneau says the measure is not only risky, but unnecessary.
“Because schools are supposed to be safe places for learning, adding guns into that mix threatens that,” said Juneau. “It just has so much opportunity for crisis to happen that it’s just a bad idea.”
Many would argue that the very absence of guns on school grounds is what makes them especially unsafe, but Juneau disagrees, arguing that schools are actively working on developing crisis-response protocols
“No, I’m not going to support the new initiative,” said Juneau.
Billi, however, remains undeterred. The high school teen realizes what most anti-gunners do not: that bad guys don’t obey the law.
“If somebody is dead set on killing somebody, the law is the last thing on their mind,” said Billi. “The way you stop someone like that is you put a gun in the victim’s hands. The whole purpose of a concealed handgun is that nobody knows you have it.”
Billi must collect 24,000 valid voter signatures in order to get Initiative-175 on the 2016 ballot. So if you’re in Montana and believe armed school personnel would make schools a safer place, be sure to sign I-175.
(This article was a submission from freelance writer Brent Rogers)