According to Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani, upstanding high school students at least 18 years of age should be permitted to carry guns inside schools in an effort to thwart future school shootings.
The issue came up during a Twitter dispute Wednesday between the state lawmaker and Zach Dickerson, a Democratic primary candidate for the District 42 seat Antani currently holds.
Antani has long advocated allowing college students to carry firearms on campuses, but the shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have injected into the national conversation a new round of debate about the place of weapons in American high schools.
"Here's you opportunity to prove me wrong. Renounce your support for HB 233 and stand with the students. Listen to your constituents and support smart gun safety laws."
"Students deserve a chance to stand their ground and defend themselves."
Antani told the Daily News that he is not advocating the arming of high school students; rather he believe those who are already legally carrying firearms should be permitted to carry them into schools, saying "anyone who is of age should be able to carry a firearm wherever they want".
“The law is anybody above 21 can have a handgun and anybody above 18 can have a long gun, and so anyone who complies with the law should be able to carry and protect themselves,” Antani told the Daily News. “If you look at what happened many decades ago, people brought their firearms to school. They kept them in their cars, maybe, but there was not a problem.”
Dickerson, who is a gun owner with a concealed carry license, said Antani's gun policy ideas are "dangerous and dumb".
“I think that is irresponsible, and I think a vast majority of both parents, students and school officials would agree with me,” said Dickerson. “I support gun ownership, but I think there’s a balance to be struck between public safety and the Second Amendment.”