MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

February 7, 2013

House committee passes bill to allow armed teachers

They would need to pass course for reserve deputies

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – School districts across Oklahoma could allow teachers to bring firearms into their classrooms if they received reserve officer status under a bill approved Wednesday by a House panel.

The House Public Safety Committee voted 8-3 for the bill, which now heads to the full House for a vote, despite objections from school officials and concerns about the potential liability of bringing weapons into schools.

The bill by Rep. Mark McCullough gives individual districts the option of allowing school teachers or administrators to attend a basic police course academy for reserve deputies provided by the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The basic course provides about 240 hours of training on firearms, legal issues, traffic and custody of prisoners.

The measure would require individual school boards to approve the practice and be responsible for adopting policies regarding the carrying of weapons.

“Those that really feel strongly about it and want to go through six weeks of training on their own time, they’re probably going to be the ones who would volunteer, and the districts are going to know who the best choices are,” said McCullough, R-Sapulpa.

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, whose office has about 200 reserve officers, estimated the cost to his department for training and equipment at about $3,000 per officer.

State legislators introduced dozens of measures to expand gun rights in the wake of the December attack in which a gunman killed 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. A task force headed by Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, a former Secret Service agent, also has been established to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding school safety.

But McCullough said he already had been working on a comprehensive firearms measure and felt compelled to unveil it after the Connecticut shooting.

“I didn’t just roll out of bed and file this,” McCullough said. “I’ve been thinking about school security for a long time, hardening soft targets, the potential for terrorists or madmen to strike soft targets.”

But several school officials have opposed the measure, including administrators in McCullough’s district.

“Bringing guns into our school system, we’re going to have more accidental shootings than we have currently with direct shootings,” said Wagoner Public Schools Superintendent Monte Thompson. “I do not think this is the answer.”

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks