Handgun training for teachers could become a reality in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Helping teachers at public schools learn how to shoot a gun: The idea’s already received strong support in the Indiana Legislature. 

The bill to train teachers passed the House with a 72-25 vote and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development

In Rep. Jim Lucas’ eyes, letting schoolteachers get extensive training to learn how to shoot will help protect children if an attack ever happens. 

Beth Sprunger, the co-state chapter lead for the Indiana Chapter of Moms Demand Action, said, the idea of guns at schools “scares me. I’ve got a kid in third grade and I’ve got two more coming up.” 

“I would absolutely move if I thought there were going to be guns in my school carried by teachers,” Sprunger said.

She said she believes teachers don’t need guns.

“If a gun gets misplaced or a kid gets a hold of it or a teacher gets angry … who knows?” Sprunger said.

Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, said he at least wants teachers to have the option of proper training. 

“This will provide those teachers and staff the opportunity to be able to defend themselves,” Lucas said. “Not just themselves, but their students as well.”

Lucas’ bill would not require teachers to take handgun training but would allow the school district to tap into state money to pay for that voluntary training, roughly from $1,500-$2,000 per person.

“A last line of defense, so to speak, in the horrible event of an active shooting scenario,” Lucas said. 

In December, a 14-year-old teenage suspect died after a shooting at a Richmond school. In May, a student and teacher were shot inside Noblesville West Middle School

Plus, in February 2018, 17 people were killed and 17 others were wounded at a South Florida High School.

“We take school safety seriously,” Lucas said. “We’re not taking away from mental health treatment, that’s obviously an important component, or hardening schools. We’ve seen those fail time and time again.”

The Jay County Schools superintendent said last month that the district has trained its employees, who can get to a gun stored in a biometrics safe during an emergency. 

“A teacher’s first priority is instruction,” said Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “It is not to pack a firearm.”

Many teachers have told Meredith they don’t want to be armed. 

“They shouldn’t have to be concerned about a firearm,” Meredith said. “Where it’s at. Is it locked? Is it unlocked? Who has access to it? All those questions.”

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