State Capitol News
3:17 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

AZ Pro-Gun Group Wants Armed Volunteers in Schools

A statewide gun-rights group said today that lawmakers should consider having armed and trained volunteers and staff in schools to protect students against future attacks.

Charles Heller of the Arizona Citizens Defense League said there are many things that could make schools safer. These include hardening schools to keep out those who do not belong, and using panic buttons and technology to help responders. But Heller said there is evidence that having more people with guns creates a safer environment for students -- a contention some dispute.

"Are you kidding?" he laughed. "You shoot the attacker and stop the attack. How does that help? It stops people from getting killed. That's how it helps. It ends violence."

Heller said this does not mean every teacher and administrator having a gun. But it could mean arming staff who have agreed to go through certain training. Matthew Benson, press aide to Gov. Jan Brewer, said his boss could not comment on any proposal she has not seen. But he said Brewer is willing to look at anything she considers reasonable.

"The fact of the matter is Gov. Brewer is a strong but sensible supporter of the Second Amendment," Benson said. "She has a record of balancing her support of gun rights with public safety. And she's demonstrated that over the last two years by vetoing bills that would have legalized the carrying of firearms into public buildings and college campuses."

Heller said his group is still weighing what, if anything, to propose when lawmakers convene next month.

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