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Should School Staff be Armed in Colorado?
Fri, 1 February, 2013
In Broomfield, and other areas, 200 people sat attentively at a concealed-carry permit Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Class. In light of the tragic occurrences in 2012, leaving so many innocents dead, and the state of Colorado’s history with public shootings, the large number of attendees came as no surprise. The fact that the 200 were comprised of teachers and school staff is sadly not surprising either. The issue of arming school staffs is a hot topic, heightened by the tragedy in Connecticut. The issue is very much alive, according to Ken Buck, Weld County District Attorney. The bill to arm public school employees, reported by the Denver Post, did not go through on Monday evening, however Buck assured the 200 attendees of that class, there is hope, and the issue is not dead.
Controversially, the idea behind arming school personnel is to make schools safer, especially in cases of late rogue shootings. Despite the issue’s hot-topic nature, it is undeniable and does beg the question whether or not it would help in cases like we have seen. If one person had been armed, and could have managed to take down the shooter in Connecticut, how many lives could have been saved? Granted there are several unaccounted variables to consider, therefore the possibility remains “could”.
Proponents of the bill “vow to move ahead, undeterred by one legislative defeat”. Buck assures the opponents, the intent is not to arm every single member of a staff, but to implement “trained professionals” on school premises, much like a heightened security team. An argument proponents emphasize is the law already allows permit holders to have concealed weapons on school premises, if the permit holder is also under contract as a security officer. They are claiming that school staff could also partake in such a contract, after assuming the intensive training required.
A large obstacle in front of the proponents despite the possible contract allowance regards liability implied. Even if the bill were to pass legislatively somehow, the Post speculates, would insurers stand behind permit holding clients? In addition, a recent polling of Colorado’s largest teacher’s union, Colorado Education Association, overwhelming rejected the notion, posing more obstacles toward the arming’s success. However the questioning remains whether the measure could save lives, and in doing so, is it worth trying. Twenty-eight year old teacher Kimberly Douglas summed up the internal struggle possibly many teachers are facing regarding their feelings. “It’s still a toss-up… I’m pacifistic by nature, so I’m not sure how I feel about carrying a gun. But if it helps prevent people from mowing down children, maybe it’s worth it.”
Simpson, Kevin. “Despite Setback, Colorado Proponents of Arming School Staff Press Case”. The Denver Post. 30 Jan, 2013. < http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_22477469/despite-setback-colorado-proponents-arming-school-staff-press>