Bill AB424 makes KHSD gun free

Ambria King, Photo Editor

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Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, California State Assembly Bill AB 424, an update to California’s Gun Free School Zones law which prevents anyone from possessing or carrying a firearm while on a school campus, will take effect.

California state law already prevents the possession of firearms in school zones, but school superintendents and those authorized to act on their behalf currently hold the authority to provide written permission for teachers and other school employees who hold a concealed carry permit (CCW) to carry a firearm while on campus, as enacted under Senate Bill SB 707. AB 424 removes that authority and bans anyone, with the exception of duly appointed peace officers and armed security guards, from bringing a firearm onto California school campuses. The bill also makes exceptions for school sanctioned sports and activities such as trap shooting, skeet shooting, and the shooting of sporting clays.

Governor Jerry Brown approved the bill, which passed in California’s state assembly with a vote of 43-23, on Oct. 14.

The Kern High School District (KHSD) and its superintendent, Byron Shaefer, made waves in Bakersfield back in June when board members voted 4-0 to approve the policy of allowing those employed by the KHSD who hold a CCW to bring guns onto all KHSD campuses, as long as they had written permission from Shaefer, as allowed under SB 707. AB 424 will also override that decision, making the KHSD a gun-free zone once again, as of Jan 1.

The passing of AB 424 will have little effect on Bakersfield College, which is already a weapon-free campus. According to the BC website, “State law and College policy prohibit the possession or use of weapons on College property. It is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison to possess any firearm on College property, whether in a book bag, in the car, or in an office, or classroom.”

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