A sheriff in Ohio has said that, in the aftermath of the latest school shooting, it’s time to arm educators — and he’s promising to do his part to train them.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones is offering free concealed carry classes to teachers and school employees who work in the county just north of Cincinnati.
“I believe that school teachers should be taught how to deal with guns, when guns come to the classroom,” Jones told Fox 19. “I’m going to do my part, and I assume I’m probably the only one in the state of Ohio that’s doing that — but something has to happen.”
All that’s required to apply for the eight-hour class, Jones said, is proof of employment and a valid ID. The date and time of the class is still being determined, the sheriff wrote on Twitter.
Following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last week, which left 17 dead, some have called for tighter gun control laws to make the kind of assault rifle that police said was used in the shooting more difficult to get. But others, such as the Ohio sheriff and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, are calling to arm teachers.
“The solution is concealed-carry in schools,” Limbaugh told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. “If we are really serious about protecting the kids, we need a mechanism to be defensive when this kind of thing happens.”
The sheriff said he was accepting 50 candidates — and within 20 minutes of making the original offer, he said he got over 50 requests to participate. Still, those who remain interested shouldn’t hesitate to apply by emailing their name, contact information and school affiliation, he said.
Not everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
Even as some have praised the idea as “absolutely wonderful,” others on Facebook and Twitter — where the sheriff made the offer — have responded by questioning whether arming teachers is the best way to fend off the threat posed by mass shooters targeting schools.
“Why? So that teachers can shoot kids next?” asked Facebook user Kira Makenzi Pierson. “We need to have adequate mental health care and more gun restrictions.”
Currently, nearly every state bars guns in K-12 schools, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, but eight states allow those permitted to carry a concealed weapon to have firearms on campus or don’t have relevant laws on the subject. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, according to the center.
Some commenters on Facebook said people should inform themselves before taking a position on the concealed carry, or CCW, permit issue.
“I encourage anyone who is against this to go and take a CCW class,” wrote Facebook user Samuel Low. “You don’t have to carry, you don’t even have to get the permit, just take the class so you can be more informed. There is a lot of misinformation floating around.”
The sheriff also said that last week’s shooting suggests it’s time to rethink fire drills, too. Police said students were drawn into the hallway by a fire alarm during the shooting, but as the Miami Herald has reported, it’s not clear Cruz pulled the alarm. It may have been set off by smoke the assault rifle created in cramped hallways, Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the Herald.
Jones also proposed a national school safety czar to tackle the issue in a video posted on Facebook after the Florida shooting.