House Republicans propose plan for concealed weapons in school zones

Two dozen House Republicans proposed legislation on Thursday that would allow off-duty and retired police officers to carry concealed weapons in school zones to help protection children from attacks.

Supporters of the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, H.R. 2541, say the bill would give schools the ability to seek this added layer of protection from random acts of violence, like the one that claimed the lives of 20 children last year in Newtown, Conn.

"This common-sense bill addresses a question on all of our minds: how do we keep our children safe?," said Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), the lead sponsor of the bill. "These dedicated men and women of law enforcement should not be barred from providing an extra layer of security for our schools just because they are off the clock or have retired from active service to their communities."

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Many Republicans have said beefing up security at schools is the best way to protect them, in contrast to arguments from Democrats who have sought various gun restrictions and enhanced background checks.

On the same day Hartzler introduced her bill, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) proposed new legislation that would require all guns in the U.S. to use technology preventing them from being fired by young children. Speier said her bill would reduce the death and injury that happens when guns find their way into the hands of these children.

"More than half of child deaths from guns result from accidents or failure to secure guns in the home," she said. "In the past, we have taken similar safety measures with products such as butane lighters and prescription drug bottles.

"It's inexcusable we haven't done the same with deadly weapons."

Speier's bill has 17 Democratic co-sponsors.