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Proposed bill would provide optional gun training to Indiana teachers

Posted at 5:41 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-07 07:39:47-05

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers are considering legislation that would provide optional training for teachers and school staff on how to use handguns.

State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, filed House Bill 1253 that would create a state approved training curriculum with a focus on active shooter scenarios.

Lucas pointed to shootings in Noblesville and Richmond as reasons for the legislation.

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“We have to give to teachers a chance to be to be able to defend themselves in the event of one of these incidents taking place,” said Lucas. “Since Indiana has already seen this take place, we know that it’s possible.”

House Bill 1253 would also repeal the ban on carrying firearms on school buses or school property.

“I believe our constitutional rights should be recognized in schools just as they are in public,” Lucas said. “So, I reached out to the people that train our police officers and asked them to create a program based on the amount of time society tolerates with police officers.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick released a statement to RTV6 Wednesday.

“Allowing teachers the option to carry guns into our schools is not the solution,” McCormick said. “While there is room for tactically trained individuals, such as law enforcement and school resource officers, as well as situations deemed appropriate by local decision makers, the idea to arm all of our teachers often creates more risks than rewards."

Lucas expressed surprise that McCormick would take that stance.

"She's against people being able to protect themselves in a situation when someone's trying to kill them?” Lucas asked. “Is that what I'm hearing? To me that doesn't make sense.”

Approximately one in five Hoosiers has a license to carry a handgun, Lucas pointed out.

“Schools aren’t just some magical place where all of a sudden people lose their rights because of some geographical barrier,” Lucas said. “Bad things happen at schools. We know, we’ve all seen that.”

The Indiana State Teacher’s Association, the state’s large union of educators, released the following statement in response to the bill:

“Arming educators sends a signal that we are giving up and accepting this crisis as the new reality. Instead of arming educators with guns, lawmakers should start by arming our schools with more psychologists and counselors so kids dealing with trauma get care before they become broken. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. Together – parents, educators, lawmakers, community leaders – need to come up with real solutions that really will save lives.”

The bill has been assigned to the Committee on Education and is awaiting a hearing.

It does not yet have any co-authors or sponsors.

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