Former Columbine student wants firearms in schools for protection

A student who survived the Columbine High School massacre has introduced a bill that would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit the right to conceal and carry firearms in public schools.

Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, was a student at Columbine in 1999 in Jefferson County when two seniors went on a rampage, killing 12 fellow students and a teacher.

“This bill will allow honest law-abiding citizens to carry a concealed firearm for protection if they choose to,” Neville said in a news release. “But most importantly, it will give them the right to be equipped to defend our children from the most dangerous situations.”

He is sponsoring the bill with his father, Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton. The family is known for its support for fewer gun restrictions.

House Bill 1198 has been assigned to the Democratic-controlled House State Affairs committee. It is not one of the seven gun bills scheduled to be heard today.

An April 2014 poll from Quinnipiac University found 50 percent of Colorado voters supported allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds. Men supported the measure 59 percent to 38 percent while were opposed 51 to 42 percent.

By an overwhelming 74 to 20 percent, voters support metal detectors at school entrances.

In a breaking down deciding what measure would be most effective in reducing gun violence in schools:

38 percent of voters list metal detectors;
30 percent prefer armed teachers;
21 percent want stricter gun laws.

Patrick Neville believes his bill will lead to less school shootings. The current law “barring law abiding permit holders from carrying in schools is an open invitation for violent thugs and criminals intent on doing harm,” he said.

“Parents wake up everyday and bring their children to school on blind faith that their kids will return home safe. Unfortunately the current system continues to leave our children as sitting targets for criminals intent on doing harm.”