State Capitol News
8:44 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Bill May Allow Some Staff To Carry Guns At Public Schools

Attorney General Tom Horne and a state lawmaker are pushing to allow staffers with certain training to have guns on public school campuses. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.

The proposal would let local school boards designate individuals who would have access to weapons. They would need just 24 hours of training on everything from care of guns to marksmanship and situations where it's legal to use deadly force. Horne said that's plenty. He said, "if you look at police training and you eliminate all the stuff that's irrelevant like how to give a speeding ticket and so on, I think you may find that the training is similar."

But Andrew Morrill, president of the Arizona Education Association, said this is an unacceptable alternative to providing police officers where needed. "The school resource officer program takes a fully active licensed police officer who's already qualified to be a police officer, then trains them additionally to know how to be a police officer on the unique beat of a campus", Morrill said.

Tom Horne, a former state school superintendent, conceded that police officers would be preferable but not likely to happen. Horne said, "for all my 8 years as superintendent I was fighting for more money for that because we needed it in more schools. I think we had it in 5 percent of our schools, if I remember correctly and then they cut back even on that."

No date has been set for a hearing.