DENVER — For nearly six hours Wednesday, lawmakers listened to testimony that would allow for more guns in schools.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrick Neville, the Republican leader in the House, would have given more flexibility to individuals with concealed carry permits to go onto school grounds.
Neville, who was a student at Columbine High School, was joined by other survivors of Columbine in support of the bill.
“I want to actually allow good people, people who have gone through training who have gone through background checks, to be able to defend their students,” Neville said.
The idea to allow more guns in schools sparked an outcry from many students, Democrats and gun control groups in the Denver metro area.
Hundreds of students rallied at the Capitol opposing the bill, even staging a “lie-in” on the west steps of the Capitol on Wednesday.
Seventeen people were on the ground to honor the lives lost in Florida one week ago.
“We think it’s really important to make a change and stand up for a difference,” a student from Littleton Public Schools said.
“I have nightmares and I’m scared if guns are allowed in school I will stay home,” student Elina Asensio told lawmakers.
In the end, Democrats defeated the bill, as expected, in the House State Affairs Committee.
“We don’t ask law enforcement to teach math because that’s not what they’re trained to do,” Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, told Neville.
“So why are you asking teachers — who don’t get POST certified, who don’t get the weapons training — to be able to carry a gun in a place with vulnerable children?”