CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Centennial Gun Club (CGC) is offering free concealed carry classes to teachers, believing that well-trained teachers should be able to bring concealed weapons onto school campuses. The free class is a $125 value, with additional range time to qualify for the concealed carry permit.
The CALL7 Investigators met with CGC managers to find out if the offer is a marketing gimmick or a community service. CALL7 investigator Theresa Marchetta found the gun club is serious about getting guns into traditionally gun-free zones.
“People are a little crazy. They choose gun free zones. We want to be sure our children, our future , have the opportunity to be protected," said CGC Operations Manager Paul Stanley.
He said while there are a few teachers already signed up, others are leery and have told him they worry taking the class might somehow hinder their careers in education.
“While I am a teacher, those kids, those students in my class are my kids, and my first responsibility is to protect them at all costs,” said Tara, a teacher by trade. She's concerned her stance on guns in schools could impact her future job prospects, and asked us not to use her last name.
Tara grew up around guns and enjoys shooting on the range. “When all the school shootings happened I realized that I wanted it more for my own personal protection and I thought that that idea of being prepared to protect translates very well to the classroom for teachers.”
"It's horrific what's going on out there,” said Stanley, "we want to make sure teachers at least have an opportunity to become familiarized, face some fears and become comfortable with handguns."
CALL7 talked with several Front Range school districts, including Jeffco, Denver, Cherry Creek and Aurora. All said essentially the same thing: there's no issue as long as teachers get the training on their own time and don't bring a gun onto campus.
School District Policies Regarding weapons on campus:
"No district employee may possess or use any dangerous weapon on district property, in any district vehicle, or at any district-sponsored activity regardless of location, except as provided by law or with specific authorization from the Superintendent or designee. "Dangerous weapon" for purposes of this policy has the same meaning as it does in district policy JICI, Weapons in School."
"Firearms will not be carried concealed, unless authorized in writing by the Chief of Police, Aurora, Colorado and the district security supervisor. Security officers are excepted."
"Carrying, bringing, using or possessing a dangerous weapon on district property, when being transported in vehicles dispatched by the district or one of its schools, during a school-sponsored or district-sponsored activity or event, and off school property when the conduct has a reasonable connection to school or any district curricular or non-curricular event without the authorization of the school or the school district is prohibited. An exception to this policy may be made for students participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or team involving the use of firearms."
"Unlawful possession of a deadly weapon, as defined in state law, on school property or in school buildings unless the person falls within one of the exceptions in state law for possession of a deadly weapon including having legal authority to carry or possess a deadly weapon; presenting an authorized public demonstration for the school or an organized class; carrying out duties for the school district which require the use of a deadly weapon; participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or team involving the use of firearms; possession of the weapon is for use in an approved educational program which includes but is not limited to any course designed for the repair and maintenance of weapons; the weapon belongs to a peace officer on duty."
The Colorado Department of Education told CALL7 that any policy involving guns is up to local districts. In fact, a couple of rural districts that are more isolated from law enforcement already allow concealed carry on campus by teachers and staff.
Thirteen states already allow guns on school grounds, including Georgia, which recently passed a law allowing concealed carry in some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and parts of airports. Eleven other states allow guns on school campuses at the discretion of the school authorities for special programs, classes and events.
For information on the free classes offered on Saturday, August 23rd from 11AM to 7PM, contact the Centennial Gun Club at (303) 789-2582 or online at http://www.centennialgunclub.com.