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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (February 11, 1999 - Samoa News)--A bill that would ban guns on local school grounds is before the House of Representatives in the wake of many shootings at U.S. mainland schools over the last year.

Introduced by Rep. Malaetasi Mauga Togafau, the Territory's former Attorney General, the proposed law would prohibit the possession of arms and prohibited weapons in schools or on school grounds.

Additionally, the legislation calls for severe punishment of a person found guilty of the proposed law.

Rep. Togafau told Samoa News that introduction of the bill was prompted by news of deadly shootings in schools across the nation, which left students and teachers dead and injured many.

"It's a preventive measure," the former Attorney General added. "If we don't take preventive measures now, there will be suffering in the future."

Congressman Eni Faleomavaega told Samoa News last week that he is supportive of such legislation and would like to see the law implemented as soon as possible, noting also the problems faced by other schools in the country.

He also noted that several state legislatures are taking similar actions, while schools districts in the nation have stepped up security checks by adding more school security guards. Some have installed metal detectors and remote cameras to monitor the school grounds and facilities.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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