Clearfield lawmaker: Teachers lining up for gun class

Dec 27 2012 - 7:18am

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Curtis Oda
Curtis Oda

CLEARFIELD -- One local representative is offering a reduced-cost concealed weapon permit training course for educators.

"No one is forcing teachers to do this, but those wishing to do so, we are encouraging them to get more training," said Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield.

Ever since the Dec. 14 massacre at a Connecticut school, Oda, a concealed weapon permit instructor, has heard from a number of educators who want to take the course.

He has not set a specific date but said it will be sometime after Jan. 1. The course will cost $20 for anyone currently employed by a school district. Normally, the course costs $70.

Those taking the course also will have to pay the $47 state permit fee.

"Seconds count in most situations like the one in Sandy Hook (Elementary)," Oda said.

"Help from law enforcement is minutes away always. Yes, law enforcement did a good job, but when it is your responsibility to defend yourself and others around you, you need to be prepared. Police do a great job, but 90 percent of the time, they are there to clean up, not to prevent."

Oda said Utah and Kansas are the only two states that allow people with a concealed weapon permit to carry a gun in schools.

Utah school districts and universities cannot restrict those with concealed weapon permits from carrying guns on campuses, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council.

Aposhian is also offering a course for anyone employed with a school district. His free course is being taught today in West Valley City.

There were 200 slots available, and he said those were all snatched up by Wednesday morning.

Based on the number of people wanting the course, Aposhian said he will offer another course after the first of the year.

"We're not suggesting that teachers roam the halls for a monster," Aposhian said. "They should lock down the classroom. But a gun is one more option if the shooter comes in."

A major emphasis of the required safety training is that people facing deadly threats should announce they have a gun and retreat or take cover before trying to shoot, he said.

"Schools are the safest place for our kids to congregate, and when something like (Sandy Hook) happens, it shocks us to the core," Aposhian said.

He said having those who work inside the schools trained to handle a shooter is similar to training a school employee how to use a fire extinguisher in case of a fire.

"We're not pretending they are professional firefighters, but they're there to intervene when a fire threatens," Aposhian said.

For more information about the courses, call Oda at 801-725-0277 or email Aposhian at clark@fairwarning.biz.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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