Bill to provide firearms training for Indiana teachers passes in committee

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Should Indiana teachers carry guns in the classroom?

It’s a question that comes with strong opinions on both sides. Now Indiana is one step closer to giving teachers that option.

“When evil comes calling at the classroom door it has to be met head on with people who are armed and trained,” said high school teacher Aron Bright.

He supports House Bill 1253, which would give Indiana teachers access to firearm training. It passed out of a House committee 8-2 Monday morning.

“I think this training is going to give teachers in the state of Indiana the ability to defend the lives of their students,” he said.

State law already allows local school districts to decide whether employees can be armed. This bill sets aside money for firearms training but leaves the final decision up to each school district.

“The hundreds and hundreds of teachers I know are not trained to kill another human being, nor do they want that training,” said a former principal who testified in opposition to the bill.

It’s an issue fraught with emotion and opposing viewpoints, with educators coming down on both sides of the debate.

“ISTA maintains that arming teachers is not the appropriate answer to these kinds of safety concerns,” said Keith Gambill, vice president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.

The organization said the money proposed for firearms training should instead go to mental health and counseling services for students.

“We believe that the school safety resources need to be directed at issues that are directly impacting students,” said Gambill.

The bill’s author, State Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, agreed to remove part of the bill that would have allowed anyone with a license to carry to do so on school grounds. Even still, he says the times show Indiana teachers need access to training like this.

“This bill is merely just another tool in the toolbox to help our state keep our kids safe,” said Lucas.

ISTA said it will continue to monitor the progress of this bill. Now that it has passed out of committee, it will go to the full House for a floor vote.

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