Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Arizona Sheriff: Train and arm teachers

Posted: Dec 26, 2012 3:24 PM Updated: Dec 26, 2012 3:40 PM

By Dan Marries - bio | email

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

An Arizona sheriff is proposing a change in the "safe school zone" laws to allow designated teachers and school administrators (with proper training) to carry guns on school grounds.

The move, according to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, would allow them to initially defend themselves, and students, against a violent attack, while they wait for police to arrive.

According to a press released, Babeu also supports assigning a deputy or police officer in every school, "much the same way that commercial airline pilots have been trained and armed to defend their aircraft, school administrators and designated teachers would be trained by local law enforcement and armed to protect themselves, other staff and their students."

Babeu goes on to say, "administrators and teachers are highly educated, they know their schools and love the children. Past efforts to protect innocent children and our schools have resulted in making them more vulnerable and more alluring as targets for mass killings."

Babeu says restrictive gun laws and efforts to take guns away from law abiding citizens is unconstitutional and will not stop the violence, "the immediate reality for every law enforcement leader is how do we best protect our schools, which are not fully protected and are not as safe as they should be in order to be called "safe school zones?"

Sheriff Babeu continued, "The NRA is correct, we need a cop in every school. We also need to train and arm school administrators and designated teachers to protect themselves and our school children. Even with an officer on campus, some of these schools are quite large. The officer can't be everywhere on campus and having trained and armed administrators and designated teachers could help limit and contain the active shooter."

Babeu says that officer would do more than provide security, "school resource officers (SROs) are carefully selected officers who are trained to teach classes, mentor students, building positive relationships with students and staff and are one of the best defenses against an active shooter in a school."

In response to calls for new gun laws, Sheriff Babeu said, "We have a people problem, not a gun problem. The reality is there will be little if any change in gun laws, which is not the solution anyway. We have over 20,000 laws and regulations on firearms, yet none of them prevented these mass killings. Criminals, mentally ill mass killers and terrorists do not follow current law and they certainly will not follow any future laws."

Babeu says mass killers target areas like safe school zones and other places where guns aren't allowed, "these mass killers have not shown any inclination to go where defenders with guns may be present. They target safe school zones, movie theaters, college campuses, malls and even military bases. Where ever there are areas where guns are not allowed, the law abiding good citizens are unarmed and in fact, become magnets and even sitting targets for any evil mass killers. Even the victims at Ft. Hood were trained with firearms, yet were unarmed during the duty day. That means that they did not have any guns with them and the only soldiers that carried that day were the police and the Islamic terrorist, just like any other gun-free zone."

But there are a lot of people who don't agree. There was a law, similar to what Sheriff Babeu is proposing, introduced in Missouri. Citing "serious concerns" about safety, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon came out against that proposed legislation that would let teachers in his state come to school armed

Gov. Nixon wrote, "I have serious concerns about recently introduced legislation that proposes not only to arm teachers, but to do so by taking away the authority of local school districts to keep guns out of classrooms. More can and should be done to enhance school safety, but this legislation would put our children at risk and limit the ability of local school districts to keep their schools safe."

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All Rights Reserved.

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