Nebraska state lawmakers set to reconsider arming teachers in the classroom

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LINCOLN, Neb. – A Nebraska lawmaker intends to introduce a bill which would allow teachers to be armed the classroom.

nebraskaState Sen. Mark Christensen, a Republican, said he plans to move forward with legislation allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons when lawmakers convene in January, reports the Associated Press.

Christensen says this bill is different from similar legislation he offered in 2011 after a student gunman shot and killed a vice principal at an Omaha high school.
Education and law-enforcement groups came out strong against Christensen’s 2011 bill, which failed to make it out of committee.

His new bill, however, would entail additional training requirements before teachers or school administrators could qualify to bring a gun onto school property.

“I absolutely don’t want every teacher to have one. Nobody does,” Christensen told the AP. “But if you have a gunman coming into a school, I don’t want kids shot up and killed until the police arrive, which could be four or five minutes. It could be 10 minutes. Ten minutes could mean a lot of dead kids.”

Current Nebraska law prohibits guns on all school grounds, in school vehicles and at school-sponsored activities.

In Christensen’s new bill, teachers would first have to earn a permit to carry a concealed weapon and would then undergo further training, possibly training that simulates a school setting, the AP reports.

They would also have to secure approval from the local school board, which would make its decision in a closed session to protect the teachers’ identities.

The Nebraska State Education Association has already come out against the proposal and maintains its support of zero-tolerance policies for weapons in schools, said President Nancy Fulton.

Even National Rifle Association members seem cool toward the teachers-with-guns idea. Roughly 70 percent of NRA members oppose the idea, according to the results of a survey earlier this year.
But Christensen maintains that constituents in Southern Nebraska are calling for this measure, especially after the events at Sandy Hook.

“I had way more requests for it last session than I’d ever had before,” he said. “It was unbelievable. People were mad. They don’t want their kids hurt.”

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