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State Senate backs bill to expand armed school security options

The Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2013, file photo, a bus traveling from Newtown, Conn., to Monroe stops near 26 angel signs posted along the roadside in Monroe, Conn., on the first day of classes for Sandy Hook Elementary School students since the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting. The massacre in Newtown, in which a mentally troubled young man killed 26 children and teachers, served as a rallying cry for gun-control advocates across the nation. But in the three years since, many states have moved in the opposite direction, embracing the National Rifle Association’s axiom that more “good guys with guns” are needed to deter mass shootings. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s Senate is backing legislation that supporters say give school districts and private schools more options to hire armed security guards.

The bill passed 32-17 on Tuesday, with a handful of Democrats joining the Republican majority to send it to the House of Representatives.

The bill would allow schools to hire armed security guards employed by private firms, as long as they meet certain certification standards. Other changes include expanding the definition of a school resource officer to include a county sheriff or deputy sheriff.

Democrats who opposed the bill say allowing more guns into school won’t solve a problem that can be helped by things including more money for school counselors and more restrictions on gun buying.