Maine lawmaker proposes arming teachers

AUGUSTA (AP) — A Maine state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow teachers and other school employees to carry concealed firearms at school, but the bill raised questions Wednesday among legislative leaders.

Sen. David Burns, R-Whiting, said he's been thinking of similar legislation for about a year, but decided to advance his proposal in response to the deaths of 20 students and six educators at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school on Dec. 14.

Burns' bill would require school employees carrying concealed guns to take a firearms training course and undergo a psychological exam. It would also require the approval of the local school board, superintendent and principal, as well as the notification of parents. But the policy wouldn't be mandatory.

The bill sponsored by Burns, a retired state police trooper, would also give school districts the authority to hire armed security guards.

Democrats, who hold legislative majorities, raised several questions about Burns' bill during their weekly press briefing, but said it will get a full review.

"What happens if a gun is left lying around?" said Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, the House majority leader. "Is it properly the role of a teacher who is trained to do other things to do law enforcement?" He also questioned whether school employees would be able to find the time for required training.

Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond said, "We have other ways of addressing the problem" of firearms violence.

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James Hamalainen's picture

The bottom line is security.

What is the most effective way to keep a school safe? We have trained security personnel at airports, banks, museums, etc. Why not schools? Too expensive? We want to protect priceless works of art, but not our kids? It's time to make our most valuable resource, our most protected resource.

GARY SAVARD's picture

I have known teachers who

I have known teachers who were also hunters, trappers, and registered guides . In my opinion,if one of these people were in charge of the classroom my grandchildren were in, ( My children are too old now), I would feel much better than as is currently the situation, whereby schools are known as gun free zones, A/K/A "Soft Targets". Why pick on a Pit Bull when a Poodle is available.

Jeff Johnson's picture

National Guard

How many of our teachers are in the National Guard? I would have no problem with a military-trained national guardsman/woman carrying concealed in the classroom.

Mark Elliott's picture

Bingo! I can think of a few

Bingo! I can think of a few in my child's school that have just as much, if not more, training than most police officers.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

Try this senario

A gunman enters a school armed with a six round pistol. How many people cn the shooter kill in the average response time of ten minutes for the police. If I were a teacher I would want to have the oppertunity to dispatch such a person myself.

Mark Elliott's picture

Exactly! As a

Exactly! As a ...ahem..."great leader" (sarcasm) once said: "If we can save even one child, we should!"......6 is a no brainer!

Still waiting for him to announce defunding of Planned Parenthood though! He can save many right there...and in his own words, he should!

 's picture

A last resort proposition?

I hope the firearms training is combat training. I hope their is a yearly re-certification process.
Teachers are generally not trained for this. I would doubt that many would adapt well to this. I don't see how giving teachers two missions improves either one.
But as a last resort.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The law would not be

The law would not be mandatory. No teacher would be forced to pack if they were not comfortable doing so. If you want to ban something, how about "Gun free zones".

Mark Elliott's picture

If I remember correctly he

If I remember correctly he isn't talking about "requiring" teachers to carry.....just "allowing" teachers to carry. Only those comfortable doing so....and many already have CCWs anyways. We still need "other" faculty to be the eye, ears, and brains for the children if such an event were to take place. I would be a multi faceted plan.....

 's picture

I think we all agree

The bill before the legislature is a start.


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