Bill to arm Arizona teachers moves forward

PHOENIX - A move to arm Arizona teachers is moving forward in the state legislature.

It’s the second time the measure has been on the table.

The bill would allow teachers and staff that have been trained to have access to a gun on campus.

The gun would be kept locked up in a safe. It would be kept in the classroom of the teacher trained to have access to it or close vicinity to any staff member trained to use it. Only the trained employee would have a key to that locker.

Employees would have to attend 24 hours of training classes.

Attorney General Tom Horne, who proposed the bill last year and again this session, said it would protect students in case a shooter entered a school.

Horne said the bill was inspired by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut in 2012.

Opponents say arming teachers could actually put students in danger.

Rep. Stefanie Mach, D-Tucson, said “that more weapons equal more violence.”

Mach also said that allowing teachers to have guns would put schools at risk of having unaffordable liability insurance costs.

"The intent of the bill is honorable," she said. "But this doesn't solve the problem."

Co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. David Stevens, R- Sierra Vista, said it's better to have someone around who's ready and trained to respond in emergencies like school shootings.

"When it comes down to having seconds to decide whether you have security or not, you gotta have someone there who can handle it," Stevens said.

A similar proposal last year never received a hearing. House Bill 2412 passed a committee hearing on Thursday and now heads to the House.

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