Bishop school board votes no on concealed weapons on campus

By Deb Murphy

Following public comments overwhelmingly against concealed weapons on Bishop school campuses, the Board of Trustees agreed 4-1 at Thursday evening’s meeting. The one exception would be a properly trained law enforcement officer.

Bishop Union High School

Bishop Union High School

Trustee Josh Nicholson was the lone ranger on the vote due to his belief that those with concealed carry permits had a right to bear arms on the district’s campuses.

The issue came forward with the passage of Senate Bill 707 that required a waiver from a school’s administration in order to bring a concealed weapon on campus.

Thursday’s meeting was the third where concealed weapons waivers were discussed. At January’s session, representatives from law enforcement and the district attorney’s office were supportive of the district granting a waiver. But at February’s and last night’s meetings, the public and staff expressed strongly that guns had no place on campus.

County Superintendent of Schools Terry McAteer provided a fiscal perspective. “Butte County allows waivers,” he said. “Three teachers left on stress leave. The knowledge factor, knowing that anyone on campus could have a concealed weapon, changes the dynamics.”

In another example, Shasta County allowed concealed weapons with waivers. The district superintendent explained he didn’t have the expertise to determine who was mentally stable or who could shoot straight. Eventually, the district’s excess liability carrier denied coverage.

Comments focused on the concept that guns would not make campuses safer, just the opposite. Many of those who spoke said they were not anti-gun, just anti-guns in school.

Home Street Middle School principal Pat Twomey related two recent incidents, one a physical restraint, the other a very angry parent, where the presence of a concealed weapon would have made the tense situations even worse.

Kathy Schwartz suggested a resource officer on campus may be a better route.

Trina Orrill started the board discussion on a resolution that no waivers would be granted. Her concern was the district should engage in a larger discussion about security on campus before the board determined a no-waiver policy was needed.

Chair Kathy Zack and Trustee Eric Richman explained that the waiver issue was an action item on the agenda and a vote was necessary.

Trustee Taylor Ludwick referred to area law enforcement’s support of the waiver. Richman parried with “there is no proof guns make kids safer in a shooter situation.

Eventually, Orrill asked that a sentence in the resolution citing safety of the students be removed as too political. Superintendent Barry Simpson said deleting the sentence did not change the policy; the sentence was deleted.

Though Orrill said she was not 100 percent comfortable, she voted to approve the resolution as did Ludwick, Richman and Zack.


Note: Inyo County District Attorney Thomas Hardy emailed this clarification:

I am requesting a minor, but important, clarification on the article on the Sierra Wave website regarding the concealed carry issue at Bishop Schools.

I attended a school board meeting in January at the request of a board member. I attended only to explain the new law and to answer any questions about enforcement.

I attempted to make it very clear that the policy decision as to whether or not to allow waivers to the new law was strictly a decision for the Board of Education and the administration.

I have not attempted in any way to influence that policy by the Board.

My duty, as always, is to equitably enforce the laws of the State as adopted by the people, the Legislature, and by local governing bodies.



37 Responses to Bishop school board votes no on concealed weapons on campus

  1. Larry March 28, 2016 at 4:48 am #

    What law enforcement supports a waiver?
    A concealed weapon permit does not train anyone to respond to a school campus situation.

  2. B. Jaise March 28, 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Id rather have someone who is trained and qualified with firearms; passed a background check and is knowledgeable in the area carrying a concealed firearm in case of an emergency situation rather than nobody at all. seems as if the board is doing what they think the people want rather than what’s in the best interests for the kids.

  3. Sandy Justice March 28, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    With all the money spent on law enforcement, to train and equip them to handle anything that could happen. I will put my money on law enforcement over someone that is of the mind that that the only way they feel safe is to conceal a gun. And the delusion that they will be a hero because they are the only hope.

  4. Bob March 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

    Just remember most mass shootings happen in gun free zones

  5. Trouble March 28, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    This is a debate for our do nothing congress. Not some school board trustee.

  6. Low-Inyo March 28, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    Sandy Justice….Not only that,but for some,they think if they have a conceal carry permit,it somehow makes them some type of authority or Law Enforcement….George Zimmerman…..and would bet,if this were allowed on campus,the first shooting wouldn’t involve some “mass shooter” and the CCW-guy “protecting and saving” everyone by defending….it would be some minor altercation turned deadly by some hot-headed wanna-be cop….

  7. CarbonFootPrint March 28, 2016 at 6:38 pm #

    Great. Criminalize people who have been law abiding citizens for exercising their second amendment right. They’ve been carrying concealed on campus for years without issue, but now its upsetting? I’m sure most parents have seen how easy it is to walk right into the local schools without being contacted.

    Most mass shooters have been stopped when the attacker has been confronted by someone with a gun. Yeah the PD is close, say 2 minutes or so, but in these situations seconds count. Snap your fingers as fast as you can for 2 minutes. That’s how many shots a shooter can get off before help arrives.

    Depending on how you view the situation, fortunately or unfortunately we will never be able to eradicate guns from our society. But limiting where law abiding people can carrying concealed firearms is not going to make the schools or anywhere else safer. I agree that having no guns on campus is the safest bet. But this is a naive and unrealistic approach, as people with ill intent do not follow the rule of law.

    What are they going to do, put up a sign that says “Gun Free Zone” and throw pencils and erasers at the shooter? And if you don’t think it can happen here, just ask the people involved with past mass shootings.

    This is a decision based on emotion, not logic. Too bad.

    • Low-Inyo March 29, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

      CarbonFootPrint…..Maybe most mass-shooters have been stopped,or at least slowed down when confronted with someone with a gun…..but the person confronting them are trained police officers arriving at scene,not some untrained, unskilled person that happens to have a CCW….as most of them are…CCW classes don’t instruct applicants how to deal with mass-shooting situations…and even if they did,you never know how someone would react if put in that situation….probably drawing and shooting back and causing as much mayhem as the mass-shooter himself.If I were put in that type of situation,I wouldn’t feel safer…or “saved”..if I knew there were possibly private citizens present that might have a concealed weapon…

    • sugar magnolia March 30, 2016 at 7:45 am #

      actually they made the only decision they could logically make. Regardless of one’s opinion of whether or not guns on campus reduce the risk of a mass shooting, the FACT is, any accidental discharge from a concealed weapon would have opened up the school district to liability.
      Quite simply, they had no choice other than the decision they made.

  8. Low-Inyo March 30, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    sugar magnolia……do you mean you wouldn’t be safer sending your kids to school knowing there could be numerous civilians legally roaming the campus with a loaded weapon…..and probably some teen-agers doing it illegally….just in case of a possible mass shooting,and possibly saving the day for all the students ?

  9. Trouble March 31, 2016 at 11:51 am #

    Lower, seems to me that the majority of gun violence has been occurring in the city with the most restrictions on them.

    • Low-Inyo April 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      Trouble….here’s the thing….if you don’t feel safe without a weapon,carry one…if you choose to do it legally,get a CCW…..if you choose to do it without a permit,do it….just don’t do something stupid and then get caught doing it….but don’t rely on or expect someone else to come to your rescue if caught in a tight situation…especially untrained,unqualified people that just so happen to have a conceal carry permit…

  10. Mountain Watchdog March 31, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    In this an election year, I find it interesting that neither Republican nor Democrat is touching this issue.

    • Larry April 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

      no guns allowed at the republican national convention seems scary that gun owners cannot protect their candidates with guns from other gun owners!

      • Low-Inyo April 3, 2016 at 9:40 am #

        Larry….Don’t really know what your trying to say,but allowing guns at the republican convention…to “protect” their choice of candidate… would be like hiding a loaded pistol in a room full of toddlers,and then closing the bedroom door,turning on the T.V. in the living room and watching the Dodgers-Padres opening game of baseball season.

      • Trouble April 4, 2016 at 5:07 am #

        Larry, to me, one of the only reasons I have left to vote for a Republican any more is to protect my right to bare arms. It’s sad , but very close to true.

        • roger April 4, 2016 at 10:17 am #

          Trouble- the old “bare” arms. –probably also believe in – “open kerry”

          • Trouble April 5, 2016 at 3:05 am #

            Sometimes I hate texting

        • Low-Inyo April 4, 2016 at 11:37 am #

          Trouble…It’s not really so much that the Republicans are for the second amendment….they feel that EVERYONE should be able to own and carry…with no restrictions what-so-ever…..for anyone….anytype of weapon… waiting period…for anyone….the Republicans use it as a political-ploy,trying to say (and lie)that the Democrats are trying to “take everyone’s guns away “……which isn’t true and a lie….we’re all for the second amendment rights….it’s not a political football like the GOP tries to spin-it to be….just another GOP lie that some choose to believe to be true.

          • Larry April 5, 2016 at 5:04 am #

            it is the NRA who’s membership is a small minority of people that controls the Republican party with big money contributions and fear mongering!

        • Philip Anaya April 4, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

          All of us folks who are responsible people recognize the lethal force in our hands when holding a gun. Where the bullet ends up after coming down that barrel just like that bumper sticker “Gun Control” says, it needs to hit the bulls eye each and every time and no one wants bulls eyes in inappropriate places . We don’t want multiple gun shots and the collateral effects, that we all have witnessed in the news, over and over again. We don’t want that here or in any place in the USA. We don’t want to restrict from any individuals the right to bear arms and at the same time, any individual’s rights to live in domestic tranquility.
          The NRA should come up with ideas to not only protect the 2nd amendment but to also blaze a path and advocate for responsible gun ownership .
          If they do not like the laws that are coming that will restrict certain firearms, the amount of ammo, laws effecting manufacturers and their liability, then they need to offer up some solutions to prevent mass murders and to prevent irresponsible people and criminals access to firearms. They are gun experts and they need to do a hell of a lot more than merely advocating the “open carry solution” as a means to prevent the taking of innocent lives. In the meantime lets support our neighbors and friends in local law enforcement with training and resources and lets be super over the top responsible with our own firearms.

  11. Rick OB March 31, 2016 at 11:00 pm #

    A gun is like a parachute…if you need one and don’t have it, you’ll probably never need one again.

    • Scott April 1, 2016 at 9:23 am #

      A mind is like a parachute…it works better when it’s open.

      • Rick OB April 2, 2016 at 9:27 pm #

        I do not advocate guns in schools, That was not my point. It’s true that most people can and will go through life not needing either. But you can bet your ass that there were people laying on the floor of that San Bernardino County building , waiting to be shot and killed, PRAYING that someone in there had a gun. That is just the most recent analogy.
        The fact is, the only thing that will stop a bad man with a gun , is a good guy with one, and cops are not the only good guys.

        • Charles O. Jones April 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

          So do you carry a parachute every time you fly on a commercial airline?

          And if you really want to protect yourself and your family, you would be better off having an AED handy rather than a firearm. Statistically you have a FAR greater chance of actually needing it.

          • Rick OB April 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

            I don’t fly…

          • Charles O. Jones April 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

            You’re safer on a commercial airliner than you are driving on the 395. But hey, the TSA probably wouldn’t let on the plane with that parachute anyway.

      • Mountain Watchdog April 3, 2016 at 10:50 am #

        I find it utterly fascinating that Scott’s “minds work better when open” received 5 “thumbs-down.”
        Such is the nature of today’s political arena.
        And since every generation produces more liberal thinking than the one before it, the sooner the crusty, old curmudgeons die off – the better.

        • Charles O. Jones April 4, 2016 at 12:01 pm #

          Some see an open mind as a threat to the status quo. And while I won’t wish for the premature death of anyone, there’s no doubt that the angry old white dude’s rule is coming to an end. Trump may be one of their last shots.

          • Taco April 5, 2016 at 8:39 am #

            How do you type that in all seriousness? You have Bernie Sanders (an Old White Dude) and Hillary Clinton (an Old Maid), the left have had nothing but old white people on their ticket this entire election cycle. Take your blinders off Charlie. (At least the Republicans had diversity this go around)

          • Low-Inyo April 6, 2016 at 6:11 am #

            Taco…There’s a BIG difference between an “old white dude” and an “old maid” and an “ANGRY AT THE WORLD ” old white dude that is a racist and liar,hates women,unless they are weak, young,pretty, and can be bought…or some younger nut-case that no one in his party likes,but has no choice but to try to get him nominated,knowing their angry old white dude has no chance of winning the general election.The GOP is making it easy for Hillary in November.

          • Charles O. Jones April 6, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

            How? Well actually I was referring to the constituents, not the candidates. But since you brought it up, Sanders may be old and white, but he’s far from angry. The angry award is firmly in the hands of the GOP. And Mountain Watchdog is right, each generation has been more liberal than the one before it. So if you think the ANGRY old white dudes are going to continue to dictate the politics of this nation in the future, then you’re the one with blinders.

    • sierragrl April 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

      and similarly, most people can get through life without ever needing either one.

      I certainly wouldn’t carry a parachute around with me all the time just in case!

  12. Mountain Watchdog April 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    In Econ 101 we learned the “Guns or Butter” analogy. The relationship between a nation’s investment in defense and civilian goods. A nation has to choose between two options when spending its finite resources. It may buy either guns (invest in defense/military) or butter (invest in production of goods), or a combination of both.

    The “guns or butter” model is used generally as a simplification of national spending as a part of GDP. The nation will have to decide which balance of guns versus butter best fulfills its needs, with its choice being partly influenced by the military spending and military stance of potential opponents. Researchers in political economy have viewed the trade-off between military and consumer spending as a useful predictor of election success.

    There are those clearly obsessed with guns rather than butter.

  13. Mountain Watchdog April 3, 2016 at 9:22 am #

    … and when a fellow American questions the validity of the political economy that bankrupted the nation with bogus wars that were supposed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (that never were found) and only yielded obscene profits to former defense contractor CEOs such as Dick and Lynne Cheney’ Halliburton and Lockheed Martin, that fellow American is branded a “bad American” or “traitor” by the Limbaughites and Hannity and Coulter worshippers.

  14. Mountain Watchdog April 6, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    I understand the meaning of one being “open” as being like an open door; it can open very easily, without difficulty. “Free” is also the same. As a result of being free and open, the more you receive new ideas, it makes you want to give out more of your energy. That way, each helps the other. It is very useful, very necessary; especially these days where some demonize the open mind for obvious political and socioeconomic reasons that even they do not understand why they do it.

  15. Mountain Watchdog April 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm #

    “We can do without butter, but, despite all our love of peace, not without arms. One cannot shoot with butter, but with guns.”

    A quote from one of our Neoconservatives of the hour? Rightwing politician?


    Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany – Joseph Goebbels

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)


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