School board member wants to bring her gun to meetings

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Monday, Sept. 30, 2019

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — A Beaufort County School Board member wants to change South Carolina law so she can bring her gun to meetings.

Rachel Wisnefski made the suggestion after the school board considered a motion to stop paying a Beaufort County deputy to attend meetings. The school board turned down the motion at a meeting earlier this month, choosing to keep hiring a deputy for $45 an hour, which comes out to about $8,000 a year.

Wisnefski pointed out shootings have taken place at government meetings before and without a deputy with a gun she couldn't feel safe, The Island Packet of Hilton Head reported.

"I'm not planning on not coming home from one of these meetings," Wisnefski said at the meeting. "I'll state it on the record, I don't feel safe."

The board started hiring a deputy in 2017 after a heated argument between a member and a private citizen, who is now also a school board member.

Wisnefski said she plans to talk to local legislators about working to change the law so people with concealed weapons permits can carry guns into public meetings.

Wisnefski cited five people killed at a 2008 city council meeting in Kirkwood, Missouri, and a 2010 shooting at a school board meeting in Panama City, Florida.

The proposal to stop hiring a deputy for meetings came from school board member David Striebinger. He said it wasn't motivated by cost.

"The reasoning was twofold," Striebinger said. "One is there's a very limited amount of things that law enforcement can do at meetings, as we know. The other is we don't like the image of having law enforcement at a board of education meeting."

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