More than a dozen Colorado teachers received training on how to fire back at active shooters in schools, in a program that gun-rights advocates call essential.
Laura Carno, the founder of Coloradoans for Civil Liberties, described its program “in a nutshell” as “training for teachers and other school staff who are armed first responders in their school.”
Carno described the training as necessary for rural school districts, who have “law enforcement that is 30-45 minutes away” according to KUSA. “They are their own first responders,” says Carno.
One of the teachers participating, Ronnie Wilson, says he hopes to open a K-12 charter school in Colorado Springs. He said he gets questions in equal numbers about school safety and academics from parents. “I’m looking for every possible venue and avenue to ensure the safety of students.”
“The kind of training that I have personally received is something beyond what I could have received through the sheriff’s office, just for my conceal-carry permit,” Wilson told Fox 31.
Wilson is the only one of the 17 teachers and staff who was willing to share his identity. Carno described the importance of hidden identities of armed teachers. “There’s a confidentiality aspect to all of this, as well. Each participating school district can decide how public — or private — it wants to be when it comes to having staff members at this training exercise, and who will be armed at school," said Carno.
By protecting teacher's schools and identities, the rest of the school is kept safer as well. Carno said, “it’s also for the staff members’ protection because no one wants a potential armed shooter to know in advance, which staff member will be armed at any given time.”
In Colorado, law permits school staff members to carry concealed weapons, contingent on a permit and a designation as a safety officer. Although some teachers already carry weapons, not everyone is on board with the training.
Tom Mauser is a member of Colorado Ceasefire. His son, Daniel, was killed in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. Mauser says “these teachers are not going to get the level of training that law enforcement or really high trained security guards are going to have.”
While Mauser supports security guards, he sees the program as problematic. Mauser argues that if a teacher is returning the cross fire, “law enforcement coming on the scene not knowing who the good guy and bad guy is” could amplify the situation.
Ken Toltz, founder and co-chair of Safe Campus Colorado, shares the same sentiments as Mauser. In a statement provided to KUSA, Toltz said “the dangers of adding guns to a school environment are dramatically increased by allowing loaded weapons into a school environment on a daily basis.”
According to Carno, there are 20 people on the waiting list for the next session.
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