Indiana Offers Teacher Gun Training

( – While some states such as Washington try to tackle rising mass shootings by restricting the availability of guns, other states propose to use firearms for their intended purpose: protection.

A Republican-backed bill in Indiana would create an optional handgun training program for Indiana teachers meant to help them protect schools from spree killings. That bill passed on April 26th and was sent to the governor’s desk for a signature. 

Similar efforts in the recent past have run into resistance from both the right and the left. Gun rights proponents have balked at prior bills that override local political control. But gun-control proponents have objected on the grounds that legislation should not help put more guns in schools.

Tonya Plaff, a Democratic state Rep. and teacher, said on April 26th that the bill “will not stop school shootings,” though she did not explain why, or elaborate on why armed school staff would not help end a crisis.

The program the bill would create is optional and voluntary. It would offer 40 hours of training in handguns, self-defense, and how to protect students best if there is an active shooter at large. 

The bill’s sponsor acknowledged that the bill is just one tool, not a solution to the problem of gun violence in schools. “There are no guarantees,” said Rep. Jim Lucas, but “this is a tool that people can choose to opt into.”

A similar bill in the Indiana House made progress earlier this month, and teachers objected to it saying that more guns in schools would worsen school safety. 

At least one Democrat joined Republican colleagues to vote for the bill. Rep. Maureen Bauer said the bill could prevent accidental shootings and could stop a student from becoming “the next school shooter.” She was referring to a portion of the bill that requires the state education department, along with the Indiana State Police, to send letters to parents with instructions on safe handling and storage of guns at home. 

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