The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, February 04, 2020 3:00 pm

Senate passes bill to train armed teachers

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Teachers and other employees armed with guns on school property would have to go through specialized weapons training under a bill passed 42-7 by the Indiana Senate today.

The bill provides a training framework for Indiana schools that can already under current law authorize handguns in schools.

Those who volunteer to participate would have to take 40 hours of initial training and renew every year with another 16 hours.

Rep. Chris Garten, R-Charlestown – a Marine Corps veteran – said he understands vividly the value of training.

"In those instances, seconds matter. Increased reaction time…due to proper training leading up to that tragedy will save lives," he said.

He said the state currently authorizes untrained teachers to carry guns in schools and the bill simply cleans that up.

Senate Bill 263 – authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle – now heads to the House.

"I’m back with a strengthened firearms safety program for teachers or other staff in a school should a school corporation choose to employ firearms in their building," he said.

Last year similar legislation stalled in the House when second-amendment supporters blocked it. They had concerns about mandating training.

At least four Indiana school corporations have moved forward with arming teachers. One includes Jay County schools – which is seen as the model for Indiana. Those that already have their own programs are grand-fathered in the legislation.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, said some parts of the training will be very helpful. But overall he thinks the state will get "well-meaning amateurs" armed in schools.

He said when a kid comes in to shoot they aren't expecting to leave "and an armed teacher is not a deterrent."

All of northeast Indiana’s senators supported the legislation.

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