National (BTSNews) — THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA SAYS an ongoing, national firestorm continues today concerning armed teachers and gun control following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
Gun control advocacy groups like Newtown United, and gun rights groups such as the NRA, aggressively spin and lobby the issue of gun rights and public safety in Washington, D.C. Others seek to litigate the issue in court, such as the $100 million lawsuit filed against the Sandy Hook school on behalf of a six-year old survivor of the shooting. In the meantime, President Obama has created a gun safety task force that may move to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines nationally.
BUT BEHIND THE SCENES, some schools are not waiting for national consensus, the outcome of lawsuits, or the proposals from a Washington D.C. task force. Some schools are actively moving forward to put guns in the hands of their teachers and, in at least one school district, gun-toting teachers are already a reality.
- In Vancouver, Washington, state congressional representative Liz Pike has proposed an armed teacher law. Pike says teachers with guns in school would undergo psychological testing and firearm training, and would be similar to the program that allows some airline pilots to carry a gun in a cockpit.
- In Harrold, TX, the local school board there has decided to allow qualified school teachers carry concealed guns. Says David Thweatt, the school superintendent:
“We don’t have money for a security guard, but this is a better solution. A shooter could take out a guard or officer with a visible, holstered weapon, but our teachers have master’s degrees, are older and have had extensive training. And their guns are hidden. We can protect our children.”
- In Sagola Township in Michigan, National Rifle Association-certified instructors in one Upper Peninsula county are offering free gun classes for teachers and other school employees. A bill that would have allowed them to carry those guns in school had been approved by the state legislature before being vetoed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
- In West Valley City , a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, over gun-rights advocates offered six hours of concealed carry gun training to over 200 Utah teachers. As one teacher, Kevin Leatherbarrow, explained, without armedteachers, [w”]e’re sitting ducks. You don’t have a chance in hell. You’re dead — no ifs, ands or buts.” Utah is among few states that let people carry licensed concealed weapons into public schools according to the 2012 National Conference of State Legislatures compendium of state gun laws.
- In Adams County, Colorado, a half dozen teachers are taking gun classes in response to the school shooting in Newtown and the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. The teachers are hoping that they will be allowed to carry their guns concealed in their schools.
- In Columbus, Ohio, hundreds of school workers want to carry guns in school, and the Buckeye Firearms Association, a local firearms group, said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers.
- In Phoenix, Arizona, the Arizona attorney general is proposing a change to state law to allow one educator in each school to carry a gun.
- And in Southington, Connecticut — only 32 miles from the Newtown school shooting — TheTruthAboutGuns.com organized and carried out a simulated school shooting to study whether armed school teachers can better prevent shooting tragedies.
Some experts say that almost nothing could have prevented the December 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut — despite the fact that U.S. school districts have spent millions of dollars on metal detectors, security cameras and elaborate emergency-response. But some teachers and school districts appear to be less sanguine about the issue — and their lives.
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