In the wake of last week's horrifying tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Oregon state Rep. Dennis Richardson, a Central Point Republican, sent out an email to three local superintendents saying that teachers should be allowed to carry guns on campus, and that armed teachers could have prevented the carnage in Connecticut.
Gawker obtained the email from a source on Monday and reprinted it in its entirety, excerpted here:
If I had been a teacher or the principal at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and if the school district did not preclude me from having access to a firearm, either by concealed carry or locked in my desk, most of the murdered children would still be alive, and the gunman would still be dead, and not by suicide.
[O]ur children's safety depends on having a number of well-trained school employees on every campus who are prepared to defend our children and save their lives?
According to his website, Richardson is a decorated helicopter pilot who served in Viet Nam and longtime attorney who first assumed office in 2003.
Richardson told the Medford Mail Tribune that he believes at least three officials in every school should be trained in the use of firearms.
"We need to ensure that our children are safe, and we can't do that by disarming those who are on the scene," he said, pointing to a 1999 shooting in Mississippi in which an assistant principal kept the shooter at bay with a handgun.
In 2009, the Oregon Court of Appeals denied a South Medford High School teacher permission to bring her handgun to school, reports The Oregonian.
Medford is part of Richardson's district.
According to the Associated Press, Medford Police Chief Tim George disagreed with Richardson's email, saying that teachers should leave questions of lethal force to first responders.
"Teachers don't go into teaching to be police officers, they want to teach kids," George said. "In crisis situations there are a lot of very complex things happening all at once and you have to constantly train for deadly force incidents."