PHOENIX — Attorney General Tom Horne and a Sierra Vista Republican lawmaker are pushing a plan to let principals, teachers and janitors at public schools carry guns.
Rep. David Stevens said his goal is to make public schools safer. He said that having more people with guns — with certain training — should do that.
But Stevens stressed that nothing in HB 2656 actually requires any school district to go along. Instead, he said it simply provides an option, with locally elected boards having the final decision.
He also said it is less expensive than alternate plans to provide an armed police officer in every one of the approximately 2,000 public school buildings across the state. And the lack of a price tag also means the legislation does not have the additional hurdle of becoming part of the overall budget negotiations.
Horne said that if it were up to him, he would prefer to have police officers to armed teachers. But he said the political and fiscal reality is that isn't going to happen.
To carry a firearm onto campus, an individual would need only to pass a 24-hour course. Issues to be covered include the legal situations where someone can use deadly force and the care, maintenance and safe handling of weapons.
There also is a mandate for marksmanship training and ``scenario-based training'' designed to give a staffer some real-life situations where they might have to decide whether to shoot or not.
Any district that chooses to go along would have to provide the Attorney General’s Office with a list of employees who are authorized to use a gun.
Horne said he believes 24 hours of training is enough.