OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma gun rights group called “Oklahoma Second Amendment Association” is offering free weapons training to teachers in the wake of recent school shootings.
“The ‘gun free zone’, it’s a misnomer,” OK2A President Tim Gillespie said. “Criminals do not obey those signs.”
That’s why Gillespie wants teachers to have the option of having a gun in class.
To help prepare teachers for any new laws allowing guns in schools this year, OK2A is going to offer free handgun training courses for teachers and school personnel next month in Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
Gillespie said the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter chose the only nearby theater where guns were banned.
Guns were also banned at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month, where 20 children and seven adults were murdered by a gunman.
“We believe that if somebody is there when it starts with a firearm, it won’t become a mass shooting,” Gillespie said.
Weapons are also not allowed at the Oklahoma Education Association building.
The teacher’s union president does not want them in the classroom, either.
“How safe and secure do you feel if you think your (child’s) teacher needs a gun?” asked Linda Hampton, President of the OEA.
Hampton would rather see a different approach; security guards at schools, bulletproof windows and safe rooms for students.
“What you need to do is prevent the people from coming in,” Hampton said. “You need to identify these people whenever possible and get them the mental health that they need.”
Hampton said she could always identify the troubled students in her class but resources to help them weren’t always available.
Her solutions would take a lot of legislative funding but she said the students are worth it.
House Bill 1062, authored by Rep. Mark McCullough (R – Dist. 30), is one proposal that would require teachers to complete a police course academy.
Gillespie said he believes that bill is too restrictive, and wants teachers with carry permits and additional training to have guns.
The staff at H&H Shooting Sports Complex have never seen so many Oklahoma teachers want to learn how to shoot a gun.
President Miles Hall said they’re motivated by Sandy Hook.
“They just want to know more,” he said. “We’ve had people who have taken (our) class with no intentions of actually getting a permit so that if, God forbid, something were to happen, at least they’re not totally oblivious to what’s going on and how to possibly handle such matters.”