AZ Attorney General proposes arming one educator per school
Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne proposed a plan Wednesday to allow one educator in each school to carry a gun after they receive free firearms training from law enforcement.
The proposal comes less than two weeks after a gunman fatally shot 20 first-graders and six educators during a Dec. 14 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Horne said the program, which would first need legislative action to amend state law, is aimed at reducing the risk of similar shootings in Arizona.
Under the plan, which Horne said is backed by sheriffs in Pinal, Mohave and Apache counties, each public school could designate a principal or educator to keep the gun in a secure, locked location at the facility. It would limit gun-carriers to one per school and would be a voluntary program.
However, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu came out with his own, much broader plan on Wednesday aimed at training multiple educators per school to carry guns, noting his proposal and Horne's were ‘‘the difference between putting your toe in a pool or jumping in.''
‘‘And they should not be in a locked box these weapons,'' Babeu said. ‘‘Our schools are not as safe as we think they are, and we need to do something about it.''
Some schools around the state already have an armed law enforcement presence through the so-called school resource officer program, but budget constraints have cut it back.
‘‘The ideal solution would be to have an armed police officer in each school,'' Horne said, echoing calls from the National Rifle Association since the Connecticut shootings.
The next best thing, he said, is to arm an educator, comparing that proposal to allowing pilots to carry guns after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, called the plan ‘‘a horrible, horrible idea.''
‘‘Teachers are not cops. Teachers are not military. Their job is to teach our kids, not to be worried about how to defend themselves in a tactical situation.'' Campbell said Wednesday, adding that he will instead push for additional funding to fully restore the school resource officer program.
‘‘That's where we need to focus our money,'' Campbell said. ‘‘The last thing you want is a bunch of people with guns at schools making situations worse.''
Babeu said his plan would focus on arming as many educators as possible on a volunteer basis, even those who work at schools where a law enforcement officer already is present. Horne's plan would limit gun-toting teachers to schools where there is no armed presence.
‘‘If a bunch of teachers brought guns to school, I'm fearful the kids could get access to them,'' Horne said.
Apache County Sheriff Joe Dedman said the issue needs to be studied more before authorities approach the Legislature.
‘‘I'm not ruling out any of the ideas,'' he said.
Trish Carter, a spokeswoman for Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan, said he was ‘‘on board'' with Horne's idea, but noted it was too soon to comment or offer specific details.
Currently, only Utah and Kansas allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry guns in schools. In the wake of the Connecticut shootings, more than 200 teachers in Utah signed up for free concealed-weapons training being offered Thursday by the Utah Shooting Sports Council.
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
Daisy Cortes was in court earlier this week through her attorney asked for her bond to be reduced. According to published reports her attorney reported to the court that Ms. Cortes was unaware of her fathersMore >>
Daughter of suspected gunman has day in courtMore >>
The most haunted island on earth is a small island right off the coast of Venice, Italy called ‘The Island Of Poveglia. It's beautiful and deserted but it was also a body dumping ground a few hundred yearsMore >>
Spacious Island for sale; includes hotel. May need exorcism. More >>
Jesus Hernandez-Carlon stood before a judge to be formally charged; Carlon was arrested Monday night after a witness identified him as the man who robbed him at gun point outside a Yuma restaurant. AccordingMore >>
Man suspected of robbing someone at gun-point outside a Yuma restaurant was in court. More >>
YUMA, AZ- Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim. According to police an SUV with several passengers pulled up to a man whoMore >>
Yuma Police continue to look for an armed robber wearing a black ski mask who used a shot gun to rob his victim.More >>
One Stop Employment Services in Imperial County is stepping up their efforts to help the more than 1300 employees set to be laid off once National Beef in Brawley closes in late May. They're reaching outMore >>
Employment agency stepping in to help those affect by meat company closure. More >>
YUMA, AZ- A San Luis teen is sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for attempting to transport drugs for sale. Mark Anthony Roque was arrested in June of 2011 after a large amount of drugs were found inMore >>
A San Luis teen is sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for attempting to transport drugs for sale.More >>
BRAWLEY, Calif. (13 On Your Side) – A gang member charged with murder in connection to the stabbing death of a Brawley High School football star appeared in court today. During today's hearing, the defenseMore >>
– A gang member charged with murder in connection to the stabbing death of a Brawley High School football star appeared in court today.More >>