OKLAHOMA CITY – As the nation continues to mourn the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the gun control debate heats up.
Now, an Oklahoma lawmaker is promising to take action to make classrooms safer.
If passed next year, this new law would allow teachers to carry guns in their classrooms.
But Oklahomans disagree on whether that would have saved lives in Connecticut.
“It breaks my heart that we would need to lay our lives down to protect them,” Alicia Priest said, a Yukon teacher and V.P. of the Oklahoma Education Association teachers’ union.
She is not surprised by the heroism of those Connecticut educators who died while trying to protect their students.
But she does not think teachers should have guns in the classrooms.
“I think police officers are more equipped,” Priest said. “They’re trained, they’re CLEET-certified and they’re more apt to deal with those situations than teachers.”
State Rep Jason Murphey (R-Dist. 31) disagrees.
“Security officers can’t be everywhere,” he said.
Murphey said he will support legislation that Rep. Mark McCullough (R-Dist. 30) will introduce next year, which would allow CLEET-certified teachers and principals to carry firearms at school.
“It’s wrong to deprive teachers their right to concealed carry if they have a license in place simply because they’ve chosen a life of service,” he said.
Monday, McCullough issued a release stating, “We cannot continue to be shackled by politically correct, reflexive, anti-gun sentiment in the face of the obvious, our schools are soft targets. It is incredibly irresponsible to leave our schools undefended, to allow mad men to kill dozens of innocents when we have a very simple solution available to us to prevent it.”
Texas Republican Rep. Louis Gohmert said he wishes the Sandy Hook Elementary Principal, who was killed, would have had a gun during Friday’s massacre.
“So when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,” Gohmert said.
McCullough said he plans to ensure funding for teachers to become CLEET-certified.
He would also like to see educators become reserve officers with police and sheriff’s departments.