DENVER–Colorado teachers are going back to class for firearms training, joining thousands of educators across the nation even as Democratic lawmakers move to restrict access to guns.
The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners reports being inundated with responses after offering a free course for teachers interesting in earning their concealed-carry certification in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre.
“Last week we announced a special FREE concealed carry certification class for K-12 teachers and staff members on January 28,” said the RMGO in a Monday post on its Facebook page. “The response has been overwhelming!”
The group is asking donors to sponsor teachers in order to cover course-related expenses. The cost of sponsoring one teacher is $25.
“We believe strongly in the rights of citizens’ self-defense . . . especially in our schools in these trying times,” says the RMGO fundraising plea. “We have to change the law to make that a reality. However, in the meantime we want to train as many teachers and school employees how to defend themselves, their students and their schools as we possibly can.”
Reports of teachers heading to firing ranges are cropping up in a number of states, including Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. An NBC News story from Katy, Texas, showed a firearms instructor asking how many of the roughly 50 people taking the course were teachers; about half raised their hands.
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called last week for state funding to offer specialized training for teachers and administrators on handling firearms in the event of an active shooter situation on campus. He proposed having school districts nominate employees interested in receiving the training.
In Colorado, Republicans have moved to give school districts greater latitude in permitting firearms on school grounds. Senate Bill 9 would authorize school districts to allow employees with concealed-carry permits to bring their handguns to campus.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Ted Harvey, Scott Renfroe and Lori Saine, is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, House Democrats have filed bill titles on banning concealed-carry on campus, assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but so far no legislation has been introduced, according to RMGO.
Gov. John Hickenlooper said in last week’s State of the State address that he wanted to see more extensive background checks and an overhaul of the state’s mental-health system.
“Let’s examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” Hickenlooper said.