A proposed bill that would allow law enforcement officials to train armed teachers, principals and other school personnel advanced last week in the state Senate, despite objections that it will just invite more gun violence in Colorado’s schools.
Currently, as Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert told The Denver Post, at least 25 out of the Colorado’s 178 school districts use school personnel with conceal-carry permits and Senate Bill 5 simply offers handgun training to that personnel.
Last month, The Denver Post reported teachers and staff members in at least a dozen of Colorado’s most remote school districts are arming themselves because of their distance from significant law enforcement help should they face a Columbine-style attack.
Colorado law prohibits firearms in the classroom but allows security personnel to be armed. Smaller districts that can’t afford security personnel are training and reclassifying some teachers and staff as security personnel.
Nearly all the school districts that allow it are in areas where it would take a sheriff’s deputy up to an hour to respond to an emergency
Senate Bill 5 says a school employee can carry a legal concealed weapon onto the grounds of a public school if they have completed a handgun safety course provided by a county sheriff and the local school board has approved the course curriculum and granted the employee permission to carry the weapon on school grounds.
Training requirements are included in the bill, which passed on a voice vote that appeared to fall along party lines, with Republicans carrying the majority. It now heads to a final vote before the Senate next week.
Most rural lawmakers backed the bill, saying schools in remote locations need protection, but democrats blasted the measure, saying the bill is just one more way to get guns into Colorado schools.