Teachers and school administrators who receive proper training would be authorized to carry firearms on school campuses and at school events under a bill being drafted by an Oklahoma lawmaker.
Republican Rep. Mark McCullough of Sapulpa said his bill would allow school officials to carry weapons if they’ve received training through the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, or CLEET.
McCullough said schools have become “soft targets” and that it’s critical that lawmakers start taking steps to ensure the safety of children at schools.
He said a properly trained, armed school official could help prevent the kind of “senseless evil” that happened in Newtown, Conn., when a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults before killing himself at an elementary school.
“We cannot continue to be shackled by politically correct, reflexive, anti-gun sentiment in the face of the obvious – our schools are soft targets,” said McCullough, R-Sapulpa. “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.
“I trust my children to my local teachers and principal every day. I want to give these trusted, responsible educators the ability to defend themselves and our children in the same way any normal parent would, in the face of the unthinkable.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry also said he supports allowing teachers and administrators to carry concealed handguns in response to the Connecticut school massacre that left 20 children dead.
Local school districts should decide their own policies, Perry said. But if someone has obtained a concealed-handgun license, he said, “you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state.” He clarified that private property owners should be allowed to impose their own restrictions.
Perry was asked about calls for stricter gun control laws on Dec. 17 at a tea party forum in North Richland Hills, a Fort Worth suburb. Perry said that he believed lawmakers should consider mental health issues as well as ways to make schools safer.
“It appears that this was a young man who was very disturbed,” Perry said.
Some school districts across the state already allow school personnel to carry guns. When Perry talked about how he had read about one district allowing teachers, administrators and others to carry weapons, he was interrupted by loud applause from the crowd.
Perry has already directed Texas school districts to review their emergency operation plans in the wake of the massacre. His voice broke and he paused several times as he first acknowledged Friday’s shootings, calling them a tragedy that “is not right.”
“One of the things that I hope we don’t see from our federal government is this knee-jerk reaction from Washington, D.C., when there is an event that occurs, that they come in and they think they know the answer,” he said.