LAS VEGAS – A Nevada state senator and also-ran in this year's Republican primary for governor says the Legislature should consider letting teachers carry guns in classrooms to stem a rise in school violence.
"I would expect enough teachers would be interested so it would serve as a deterrent," said Sen. Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas. He said he's preparing a bill to introduce when state lawmakers convene in February.
While Beers said teachers would have to undergo firearm safety training, Las Vegas-area school officials said that allowing more weapons on campus would make schools less safe.
"The more people who have guns, the more likely it is that there will be a shootout," said Clark County school Superintendent Walt Rulffes. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was aware of no studies supporting Beers' argument that schools would be safer if teachers carried guns.
School trustee Sheila Moulton said teachers might need more training to identify and deal with potentially violent students. But she rejected the idea of arming teachers.
"That is not the solution," Moulton said. "I'm not for putting guns in the classroom even when teachers are trained on how to use them."
Clark County school police carry weapons, and district high schools typically have two officers on campus during school hours. Some large middle schools also have armed police officers. The district is the fifth-largest in the nation, with more than 300,000 students at 325 campuses.
Beers cited reports of more than a dozen guns confiscated at Clark County school students so far this year, and several recent instances of gun violence on and off Las Vegas-area campuses.
"We have banned guns in schools in Nevada and most of the rest of the nation for the last 20 years," Beers said. "Part of the problem is a small percentage of the population is brought up without a knowledge of and respect for guns."