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Senate passes Bivins’ school, gun safety bills pass

One measure would set up task force to look at school security standards

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Tim Bivins

DIXON – The Illinois Senate has passed bills on gun safety and school safety sponsored by Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon.

One bill, passed unanimously, would create the School Security and Standards Task Force to study current security conditions, make recommendations, and draft minimum standards for use by schools to provide a safer learning environment for students. The task force is to submit its report by Jan. 1.

The other bill, passed 48-1, requires a local school board to consult with law enforcement and security experts in design and planning stages for any new school building or additions to, or major remodeling of, existing school buildings.

The Senate also adopted Bivins’ Senate Resolution 91, which asks schools to create a School Watch Program similar to the successful Neighbor Watch Program that has been in place in communities around the country for years. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

“We are recommending that schools either partner with Neighborhood Watch and local law enforcement and follow that same model in your communities, or you create a stand-alone program,” Bivins, a former Lee County sheriff, said in a statement. “It’s one more set of eyes, or many sets of eyes, watching out for our schools and our kids.”

The Senate also unanimously passed a Bivins-sponsored bill encouraging firearm safety devices.

The bill would create a tax exemption on firearm safety devices until Jan. 1, 2015. Such devices include safes, lock boxes, trigger and barrel locks, and other items for home firearm safety.

“We are embarking on a major policy change with the state of Illinois under a federal court order to adopt a right-to-carry policy,” Bivins said in a statement. “To that end, we want people to be responsible with firearms, and we would like to encourage them to buy those devices that keep them secure – items like trigger guards and guns safes.”

The legislation was co-sponsored by Sens. Napoleon Harris III, D-Flossmoor, and Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago.

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