The Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) has launched a pilot program to provide firearm training to teachers free of charge.
Ken Hanson, BFA's Legal Chair, announced the program at a town hall meeting last night in Columbus where gun control issues were being debated.
"Teachers and school board members have been asking us for years about training to prepare for an incident like Sandy Hook," Hanson said. "So our educational Foundation will sponsor an Armed Teacher Pilot Program for a comprehensive 3-day training class at Tactical Defense Institute in West Union, Ohio. Based on the response to this pilot program, we will roll out classes to other training facilities."
According to their website, The first class will instruct 24 teachers. All expenses, including class tuition, ammunition, and lodging (expected to total about $1,000 each), will be paid by Buckeye Firearms Foundation and outside donations. Teachers can sign up here. They plan to keep the identity of participants "strictly confidential."
"The long-term goal is to develop a standard Armed Teacher curriculum and make the training available to any teacher or school official," Hanson added. The first class will be announced in early January.
The training might be welcomed by teachers, but some administrators are not happy about the plan.
Bellaire Local School District Superintendent Tony Scott told WTOV in Steubenville that he "can't fathom teachers carrying guns."
"I just don't believe our teachers signed up for this. I know I didn't sign up for it," Scott said.
Scott said he does feel like something needs to change, because innocent lives are being lost. He just is not sure what that change should be, and he feels the issue needs a lot of research and discussion.
"I have two kids that are teachers. Obviously I was a teacher coming through the ranks. I don't know that I would want the responsibility to have a firearm in my classroom," Scott said.
He said it could either save lives or make matters worse -- a risk he's not willing to take.
Though Ohio law prohibits "illegal conveyance or possession of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance or of object indistinguishable from firearm in school safety zone," Ohio Revised Code 2923.122 Section D(1)(a) does allow school boards to give written authorization to a person to possess a weapon in a school.