We applaud state Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, for offering a reduced-cost concealed weapon permit training course for educators in Utah.
The course usually costs $70, but Oda, an instructor, will offer the course for $20. However, there is a $47 state fee for the permit that must be paid.
Our endorsement of Oda's willingness to provide the class for a smaller fee is not an endorsement from the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board of a policy that would arm teachers in schools. It's an acknowledgment of the Top of Utah lawmaker's efforts to use his talents to prevent the possibility of another massacre similar to the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
And Oda has made it clear that his effort is not one that would be mandatory. "No one is forcing teachers to do this, but those wishing to do so, we are encouraging them to get more training," said Oda, who adds that he has heard from Utah educators who are eager to take the course.
Utah, along with Kansas, are the two states that allow people with a concealed weapons permit to carry a firearm in schools.
Besides Oda, the Utah Shooting Sports Council recently held a free course for educators. Clark Aposhian, chairman of the council, said the 200 seats in the class were filled quickly. Aposhian said another class will be offered this year.
To get the concealed weapon permit, registrants are required to submit fingerprints and a mug shot for a background check. Gun safety, as well as the advice that a firearm should initially be offered as a deterrent to violence, is taught at the classes. Training teachers to carry weapons has been proposed at a handful of districts across the nation. Many object to the idea, arguing that teachers should not have that responsibility. The National Rifle Association has argued that an armed law enforcement professional be placed at all schools.