Published December 20, 2015
Indiana lawmakers are pushing to make their state the first in the nation to require every school to have an armed employee on site, a proposal that aligns with recent recommendations from a National Rifle Association study.
The proposal in Indiana advanced through a House committee Tuesday. It goes beyond a law signed last month in South Dakota that would allow -- but not require -- teachers to carry guns.
The Indiana bill would mandate that one officer in every public and charter school have a loaded weapon during school hours. The officers could be police officers or other non-educators but also could be teachers or principals.
The proposal is the latest precedent-setting bill being advanced in the wake of the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. Some states have tightened background checks and bans on assault-style rifles in a bid to reduce the supply of weapons, while others have pushed to make guns more available for purposes of self-defense.
Supporters of the Indiana bill say it would prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, Conn., where 20 students and six educators died. The NRA earlier this week recommended that schools try to train and arm at least one staff member.
"I've been approached by several teachers that would love the ability to have their natural right to self-defense recognized and would gladly do this without being paid," Indiana bill sponsor Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican, said.
The House Education Committee voted 9-3 to approve the bill, advancing it to the Republican-dominated House for consideration. The Senate would also have to approve the measure.
But opponents say they're concerned the proposal was rushed and is unnecessary.
Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz said Wednesday she believes such decisions on school security should be made by local school districts without mandates from the Legislature.
No states currently require armed employees in schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.