Washington Initiative collecting signatures to allow concealed carry on school grounds

Washington Initiative collecting signatures to allow concealed carry on school grounds

WASHINGTON -- In recent weeks, students across the country have rallied for gun reform.

Now a man from Bremerton is launching an initiative to allow more guns on school grounds.

Organizers are gathering signatures to put Initiative 1621 on the November ballot. And if it passes, it would allow licensed concealed carry permit holders to carry a pistol on school grounds.

The bright yellow sign greets you at the door of a Washington school, saying "this is a weapon-free campus." But Initiative 1621 sponsors said they don't want schools to be gun-free zones anymore.

“I want to equip that teacher or that staff member with the option,” said Tyler Miller, initiative sponsor.

Miller said he wants to change the law not so that teachers must be armed, but so they can be if they want.

“From ‘yes, arm everyone,’ to ‘no, guns have no place in school,’ I tried to come up with a middle of the road option that left the power of choice to the individual on whether or not they want to assume that responsibility or not,” Miller said.

If passed, it would allow teachers, faculty, or visiting parents to carry on campus--with a few rules.

They must go through a firearm safety training, inform a school administrator, and they must be licensed to conceal carry

“The choice, to have the best available tool at that moment to defend themselves and their kids,” he said.

But not everyone thinks it's the best way to protect students.

“When I first heard about initiative 1621, I was shocked,” Dylan Tonn said.

Tonn is a high school student who helped organize the Tri-Cities March for Our Lives.

“I think I speak for some of the student body,” Tonn said. “I would feel safer having a gun-free school environment and keeping it that way.”

He said not knowing how many guns are on campus at any given time worries him.

“We're trying to prevent loss of life,” he said. “And I feel like more guns in an environment will lead to more deaths.”

But the fate of Initiative 1621 and gun-free schools will be left up to the signatures.

The initiative must get at least 259-thousand signatures by July 6 to be put on the November ballot.

For more information on Initiative 1621, click here.

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