Christina Blair of Shawnee has twin daughters in high school, including an aspiring teacher.
She worries what might happen if a madman comes in with a gun and youre locked in a classroom. How do you defend against that? You cant, Blair said.
I would feel much safer, she said, if there was another way for teachers to defend their classroom.
Judith Deedy of Mission Hills has heard arguments about how gun-free zones might invite violence against the defenseless. Yet with three kids in elementary schools, shes not convinced that arming school staff is the answer.
Guns in schools with curious children, she said. What more could possibly go wrong there?
The national debate over guns and classrooms has taken root in Kansas, where some lawmakers are maneuvering to allow schoolteachers to carry guns.
Two bills to expand the states concealed-weapons law contain provisions that would let school boards allow any employee licensed to carry a concealed handgun to bring a firearm to work.
They echo others introduced in Missouri and at least a dozen other states following the mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school in December.
The bills follow a path scouted by the National Rifle Association, which has called for armed security guards at every school to fend off the next mass shooting.
When youve got somebody coming in with a gun that intends harm, the only real answer is a good guy with a gun, said state Sen. Forrest Knox, an Altoona Republican and the primary sponsor of the gun legislation.
His line closely mimics the words of Wayne LaPierre, the NRAs executive vice president, and his organizations stance that the road to safety is manned with broader use of firearms to keep danger at bay.
Knox said the legislation gives school districts more latitude to decide how to protect themselves from armed intruders. He said schools could decide who gets to carry concealed weapons and impose any further requirements. The measure would include community colleges and universities.
We need to give schools flexibility, Knox said, to do whatever they choose.
The Kansas bills are expected to see action this week, close on the heels of South Dakota becoming the first state to expressly allow school employees to carry guns.
Officials at the National Conference of State Legislatures said other states have granted exceptions to their weapon-free school zones that might be interpreted to allow teachers to carry guns.
But the organization was not aware of any state law specifically authorizing teachers to carry firearms the way South Dakota has done and Kansas is contemplating.
Missouris bills appear stalled, at least for the moment, in committee. Meanwhile, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has made clear his opposition.
Today, the Kansas House is expected to take up a bill that would require the state, cities and counties to allow concealed weapons into their buildings unless they have security checkpoints at public entrances.
College and government-run hospitals could still ban guns for four years without installing the security measures.
A comparable bill in the Senate is scheduled for a committee hearing Thursday.
Efforts to allow concealed weapons in public buildings have fizzled in previous legislative sessions. But this year, the idea is greeted by a decidedly more conservative Senate.