Ala. lawmaker works toward bill to arm select teachers

ALBERTVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School lead an Alabama lawmaker to take action.

A gunman killed 26 people at the school during a shooting rampage earlier this month.

Representative Kerry Rich, of Albertville, is pre-filing a bill that would arm select school administrators and teachers as a way to protect against violence in schools.

Rich said the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun. He feels making schools gun free zones leaves them vulnerable to mass shootings. He believes schools that can afford an armed police officer is great, but more can be done for schools that cannot afford such protection.

In light of the Connecticut tragedy, Rich said the gunman shot through the doors to gain entrance. He said from there, everyone in that school was vulnerable during the time it took for police to arrive.

"The principal of the school approached this guy, and then he gunned her down," said Rich. "If she had a weapon to where she could have approached this guy and taken him out, then the lives of a lot of people, especially the children, could have been saved."

Rich said administrators and teachers allowed to carry weapons would be required to undergo firearms training every six months. Rich said the bill would leave it up to the local schools how to implement.

One teacher, Bryan Campbell of Huntsville, expressed concern on Twitter over the potential bill.

"What are we now, the Wild West?" Campbell tweeted. "As a teacher, I will fight this starting now."

Anita Smith spent 14 years teaching children, and she feels there are better ways to handle situations like this than to have gun carrying teachers.

"I wouldn't want them on even certain ones because you might have problems in the schools, let alone on the outside of the school," she said.

"We don't need everybody armed," said Rich. "That's foolish in my view. But we do need a certain number of people that can respond in case a lunatic does show up."

Smith thinks arming teachers would send the wrong message. She thinks it's safer when school resource officers, instead of teachers, are carrying guns.

"For a teacher, she has enough on her mind, or he has to look after the children and not have to worry about running to that drawer to get that gun, or if they have it on them because their first instinct is to take care of the children first," said Smith.

A state and house committee meeting is planned for early January. That's when other lawmakers will weigh in on the bill.

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