Colorado lawmakers will review bill allowing teachers to carry weapons if local board approves

DENVER - Testimony is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at the state Capitol surrounding a plan to allow Colorado teachers to carry a concealed weapon.

Under the bill, local school boards would make the decision concerning armed educators. Currently schools do have the option of paying for armed school resource officers.

"I think there are a lot of educators who would feel safer, if they knew they could fight back," said one educator who asked to remain anonymous.

"Right now, what do we get to do? Throw a book at an intruder?" he told 7NEWS.

Supporters feel the decision to carry should be left up to local districts and the families they serve.

"We got rural school districts, urban school districts, suburban school districts -- this issue plays differently depending on where you happen to be located," said the teacher.
             
Supporters stress that teachers must have stringent training and the names of those carrying a gun shouldn't be made public.

"It doesn't mean our school, or I as a teacher, would necessarily have a gun, but people just won't know," said another unidentified teacher in an interview with 7NEWS.

Although budgets are tight, opponents stress schools can already pay to have armed officers, adding police are best trained for crisis situations. They say what's lacking are mental health professionals.
          
"If you have a district that is comfortable with allowing teachers to be armed, and if that district makes sure there's a strong and rigid training program, what's the issue with that?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.
        
"We're using training time for the wrong critical thing. Classroom teachers' first primary goal is to help educate students in the 21st century in the safest environment possible," said Nate Golich, a Denver area educator.