A gun advocacy group in Ohio has offered free firearms training to teachers as a response to the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting earlier this month.
According to The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Buckeye Firearms Association said it would pay the estimated $1,000 per student for 24 teachers around the state willing to take a three-day course as part of what it calls the “Armed Teacher Pilot Program.” The cost covers lodging, ammunition and tuition for the program.
“You want every school to be able to have somebody with skills,” the group’s chairperson, Jim Irvine, told WTAP-TV. “It could be somebody finishes this class and goes, ‘Well, I still can’t do it or I can’t get permission or this isn’t gonna work.’ But they’re still gonna take away some other mindset things that they can use in their schools to keep kids safe.”
Among the skills teachers can take from the classes, Irvine said, is treating the wounded, and handling casualties.
Irvine’s idea was quickly criticized by Lori O’Neill, vice chairperson of the Gun Victims Action Council,
“Introducing more guns into every situation we have has been has been the answer of the NRA for 30 years,” O’Neill said. “We tried it your way, now we’re going to try it a different way.”
While gun regulation advocates have called for tighter standards regarding firearms in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, Irvine’s training offer comes soon after a similar plan from a gun group in Utah. The National Rifle Association has also proposed arming more teachers in schools, a suggestion that has been roundly criticized nationally.
Watch WTAP’s report on the Buckeye Firearms Association’s proposal, aired Wednesday, below.