A measure that encourages Colorado schools to provide firearms training for its security guards, and pave the way for more teachers be armed in the classroom cleared its first committee this week.
SB 17-005, or the Handgun Safety Training For School Employees Bill, as it is known, would allow a county sheriff to provide a gun safety course to any school employee who also holds a concealed-carry firearm permit. Sheriffs are already involved in emergency school emergency response plans.
“So who better to offer this training to help work with the school district to decide what should be involved,” said Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R-Parker) who is sponsoring the legislation.
Right now, Colorado bans firearms in K-12 schools, with exceptions for law enforcement and private security. Some school districts allow teachers and other staff to work as “private security.” However, Holbert said schools aren’t required to report that information.
“So this would create an exception for people who come through this program, they wouldn’t have to be hired as private security,” he said.
Supporters are adamant that this legislation won’t put more guns in schools. Instead, they say it would simply allow for more training. “If there are people who work in the schools, teachers or other staff who want to be armed, then this would also contribute to them being trained,” Holbert said.
However, even if this bill ends up passing fully through the state legislature, school districts wouldn’t be required to offer the training. Holbert added that while he wants to encourage more training, he didn’t want to force the issue onto school districts.
“I really want to be a champion and respect local control when it comes to our school districts,” said Holbert. “That’s what’s in our constitution. I think they are best prepared to make these decisions for their communities.”
Former high school teacher Ronald Dietz of Littleton said he thinks having more concealed carry holders would make schools safer. He said civilians have stopped mass shootings and gun-free zones don’t work.
“We love our kids,” Dietz said. “We want to protect them, more training only makes that better. Training does work.”