Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) signed a bill Friday that requires school police to carry guns, with every school in the state required to have at least one armed police officer on campus, The Courier Journal reports.
The measure passed with overwhelming support in the state’s Senate and House earlier in February. Civil rights groups called for Beshear to veto the legislation, but if he had done so, it would have likely been overridden. He had until Friday to sign the bill or veto it, otherwise, it would have automatically become law without his signature.
The bill’s sponsor, state Senate Education Chairman Max Wise (R), said the new law “is crucial to the General Assembly’s continued efforts to protect Kentucky’s children, teachers and staff by improving the safety of our schools,” according to the Lexington Herald Leader.
Civil rights activists, including the Black Lives Matter group, had warned that the new law would not make schools safer and would create dangerous situations for students of color. Some school board members in Kentucky’s largest district, Jefferson County Public Schools, also opposed the legislation, pushing for a veto.
The school district is reportedly working on creating a plan for training officers and establishing what equipment they would be armed with. Training is expected to include addressing bias and deescalation techniques.
Kentucky’s new law comes as the nation grapples with how to address gun violence and repeated deadly shootings in schools.