State lawmakers across the country are in the process of introducing legislation to allow the arming of teachers, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
Lawmakers in at least six states have outlined plans to introduce legislation in 2013 to allow teachers to carry guns into schools or require several teachers to be armed in school buildings. Proponents say that by arming teachers, school shootings would decrease, since teachers could fight back.
“We cannot continue to be shackled by politically correct, reflexive, anti-gun sentiment in the face of the obvious -- our schools are soft targets,” Oklahome state Rep. Mark McCullough (R-Sapula) told the Tulsa World about his bill. “It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended -- to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it. I’ve been considering this proposal for a long time. In light of the savagery on display in Connecticut, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come."
The Oklahoma legislation would allow teachers and administrators who have concealed carry permits to carry guns with them during the school day and to other school events, including sports games, concerts and art shows. McCullough's legislation is similar to proposals pushed in several other states.
Oregon state Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) e-mailed schools superintendents in his district following the shooting in Connecticut, expressing support for allowing teachers with concealed carry permits to brings weapons to schools. He said that if he was a teacher at Sandy Hook and had access to a gun, he could have saved lives.
South Dakota state Rep. Betty Olson (R-Prairie City) told the Black Hills Pioneer that she will be introducing legislation to allow school employees, including teachers and janitors, to arm themselves during the school day. Olson called the Connecticut massacre "like shooting fish in a barrel."
South Dakota state Sen. Angie Buhl (D-Sioux Falls) told the Black Hills Pioneer , however, that she has concerns about Olson's proposal to arm school employees. “I’m not sure a janitor is necessarily qualified to take down an armed shooter,” Buhl said. “I have some concerns about that specific proposal.”
Tennessee state Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) told Talking Points Memo that he plans to take the discussion a step further and require at least one school employee be armed at all times. He said this would likely be a school resource officer, but it could be a teacher. He said that if a school district cannot afford to hire a resource officer, the district could buy a gun and train a teacher to use it. Niceley said this would also allow the shooter to not know which teacher is carrying the gun.