ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP CLIENTS ONLY
LOCATION/DATE: West Valley City, Utah/December 27, 2012
1. SOUNDBITE: Bill Pederson/UTAH SHOOTING SPORT COUNCIL
"today we are providing a class for educators in the state of Utah, pre-school through secondary schools, to learn about concealed carry and proper gun handling and gun laws.
2. Mid. Cori Sorensen, 4th grade teacher, holds and fires gun with instructor looking over her shoulder
3. SOUNDBITE: Bill Pederson/UTAH SHOOTING SPORT COUNCIL
"in wake of what has happened in Newtown, Connecticut, we would like to educate our teachers and provide them with the necessary tools and information needed to help protect their students in an event such as a tragedy in the classroom or within their school
4. Close. Gun in Sorensen's hand
5. Close, Sorenson empties gun.
6. SOUNDBITE: Jona Tuttle/Reading Teacher
"I think criminals might hit schools on purpose because they're easy sitting targets but if they knew that teachers were prepared they'd be less likely to go in because it's not just an easy in-out job.
7. Wide, Instructor speaking to classroom full of teachers
8. SOUNDBITE: CLARK APOSHIAN/PRESIDENT, UTAH SHOOTING SPORT COUNCIL
"in Utah as well as in Kansas, concealed weapon permit holders can actually carry a weapon within their classroom or on school property. And so we're just trying to give them the information to do what they they would like to do going forward. 9. Mid. Teachers listening to instructor
10. Mid. Teachers listening to instructor.
11. Wide, instructor showing teachers how Glock handgun works
12. SOUNDBITE: JESSICA FIVEASH/TEACHER
It's important because if we have the legal opportunity to change a situation and we're trained, I think we should be able to do it. It is legal in Utah for teachers to carry, so, I just bought a bra holster. I know that's a lot of information but nobody can see it, students wouldn't know, nobody would know, but if something would happen I could easily get it and it would stay on me all day.
13. Mid, Sorenen with instructor, practicing with gun
Jessica Fiveash sees nothing wrong with arming teachers. She's one herself, and learned Thursday how to safely use her 9 mm Ruger with a laser sight.
"If we have the ability to stop something, we should do it," said the elementary school teacher, who along with nearly 200 other teachers in Utah took six hours of free gun training offered by the state's leading gun lobby.
It is among the latest efforts to arm or train teachers to confront assailants after a gunman killed his mother and then went on a rampage through Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., killing 20 children and six adults before killing himself.
In Ohio, a firearms group said it was launching a test program in tactical firearms training for 24 teachers. In Arizona, the attorney general is proposing a change to state law that would allow an educator in each school to carry a gun.
The moves to train teachers come after the National Rifle Association proposed placing an armed officer at each of the nation's schools, though some schools already have police officers. Parents and educators have questioned how safe the proposal would keep kids and whether it would be economically feasible.
Some educators say it is dangerous to allow guns on campus. Among the potential dangers they point to are teachers being overpowered for their weapons or students getting them and accidentally or purposely shooting classmates.
"It's a terrible idea," said Carol Lear, a chief lawyer for the Utah Office of Education. "It's a horrible, terrible, no-good, rotten idea."
Kristen Rand, the legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy organization, said to believe that a "teacher would be successful in stopping someone who has made the decision to engage in a shootout is just not rationale."
"No teacher is ever going to be as effective as a trained law enforcement officer," Rand said. Even trained police officers don't always hit their targets, and arming teachers could put innocent students at risk of crossfire, she said.
Gun-rights advocates say teachers can act more quickly than law enforcement in the critical first few minutes to protect children from the kind of deadly shooting that took place in Connecticut. They emphasized the importance of reacting appropriately under pressure.
"We're not suggesting that teachers roam the halls" looking for an armed intruder, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, the state's biggest gun lobby. "They should lock down the classroom. But a gun is one more option if the shooter" breaks into a classroom.