Proposed bill would allow armed school officials

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A bill introduced Thursday by a Davidson County state senator would allow North Carolina public schools to allow armed personnel, such as school employees and school volunteers, to carry guns on campus as a security measure.

Under the bill sponsored by state Sen. Stan Bingham, a Davidson County Republican, school districts could create a new position called “school safety marshal,” which would allow non-law enforcement personnel to carry firearms at school after undergoing a training program.

"And then there would be some sort of jacket or uniform that he or she could put on so when law enforcement arrived they'd know each other," Bingham said.

Senator Bingham said the idea was suggested to him by Davidson County Sheriff David Grice as a way to supplement law enforcement coverage in case of a disaster.

"It's sad, but the nature of what's happened in the last ten years, the number of people where there've been incidents where kids are bringing firearms to school," Bingham said was the impetus for the bill.

The bill’s title says these new positions would “provide additional protection to those attending and working in public schools.”

The bill still needs to be discussed and voted on in committee and then in both houses of the General Assembly.

The legislation comes after the shooting in Newtown, Conn. and groups demanding increased security at schools.

Even if passed and signed, Senator Bingham said implementing the measure would be up to individual school districts.

"They're going to have an opportunity to voice their opinion because it's not going to be mandatory anywhere," Bingham said.

But the new bill, if approved, could also produce some concerns from school districts about whether they want to let more guns on campus.

 The News & Observer also contributed to this report.