DENVER (AP/CBS4) – The targeting of a Colorado schoolteacher by an armed teen last year doesn’t appear to have swayed Colorado Democrats on permitting teachers to carry concealed weapons on campus.
A Democratic House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Tuesday on another Republican bill to expand gun rights. The bill would allow school districts to permit anyone on the school staff, not just designated school resource officers, to carry concealed weapons if the school districts wish.
With children in tow a group of mothers descended on the state Capitol with strollers and a message.
“More guns is never the answer,” a woman with the group Moms Demand Action said.
Similar Republican proposals have been made before without success, but the suggestion has additional resonance after last year’s Arapahoe High School shootings, in which a student targeted a teacher.
“The status quo is unacceptable. We need to give our schools every option for protecting our children,” said Rep. Steve Humphrey, R-Severance said.
Humphrey said teachers would have to volunteer and undergo training and have a concealed carry permit.
“I can think of no safer way at this point to address school violence,” said Steve Reams, a Weld County Republican running for sheriff there.
Schools are divided as Denver Public Schools opposes the idea. Frontier Academy, a charter school in Greeley, supports it. A lot of rural schools support the idea saying that sometimes law enforcement is miles away.
Supporters of the idea were far outweighed by teachers and students who packed the hearing to speak against the idea.
“There’s no reason for teachers to have guns in school when we’re trying to keep guns out of schools in the first place,” said Karina Vargas, who was paralyzed in 2010 from a shooting outside Aurora Central High.
A similar measure allowing armed teachers is looming in the Wyoming Legislature.
The Colorado hearing came a week after a poll showed Coloradans narrowly say public schoolteachers should be armed. The Quinnipiac University Poll found that voters favored arming teachers to prevent violence in schools by a 50-45 margin.
The poll of 1,139 voters was conducted from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 and had a margin of error of 2.9 percent.
Democrats say school security should be left to armed officers, not teachers.
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
CBS4 staff contributed to this report.
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