Teachers, principals and even school janitors could be soon be armed in California. A Southern California lawmaker is proposing a bill for schools modeled on the air marshalls that are secretly armed on commercial airplanes.
"The idea is to create essentially an invisible line of defense around our kids," Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R- San Bernardino County) said about his bill, the Ventury County Star reports. Donnelly represents mountain and desert areas including Big Bear, Victorville and Barstow.
Donnelly said his bill, AB 202, is more effective than the dozen other proposed gun-control bills attempting to prevent a school shooting like the massacre that left 20 students dead in Newtown, Conn. He used the example of Sandy Hook elementary teacher Vicki Soto, who died using her body to block bullets from reaching her students.
"We have a moral obligation that the next Vicki Soto, who is faced with inexplicable evil, that she not be left defenseless," said Donnelly, a known gun rights advocate, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The bill would allow school districts to use education funds to train staff who volunteer to be armed and who pass the state's background check.
At least one parent liked the idea. "If my children were put in a lockdown situation, I want teachers armed to defend them," Christina Marotti, Southern California mother of two, told ABC. "I don't want my children to be helpless victims."
But Sen. Leland Yee (D-Sacramento), who has worked as a school psychologist, said the bill is unlikely to pass. "With all due respect to my Republican colleagues, that is just absolutely ludicrous," Yee said, the Los Angeles Times reports. "I don’t know of any educator who would be interested in packing a gun into a school."
Yee, who has written several gun-control measures, raised concerns that school staff will not have the same training that air marshals have. "It’s going to be a shootout," he said. "What about stray bullets and hitting each other?"
Donnelly, who once pleaded no-contest to bringing a loaded gun to Ontario airport and was fined more than $2,200, was joined by six other Republican coauthors of the bill. They include Sen. Steve Knight of Palmdale and Assembly members Shannon Grove of Bakersfield, Curt Hagman of Chino Hills, Diane Harkey of Dana Point, Brian Jones of Santee and Don Wagner of Irvine.