Society

Utah Teachers Trained to Carry, Shoot Guns (Video)

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The Weber County Sheriff's Department is training Utah teachers how to carry and use guns in the classroom.

The firearms lessons are in response to school shootings in New Mexico and Connecticut.

"Really it's not if, but when," Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson told 4 Utah (video below).

"It's far better to have them prepare and respond with some lethal force than to sit back and hope it never happens," added Sheriff Thompson. "To stop that threat as soon as it enters that school is the most effective way of saving those children's lives."

The seven-week class shows teachers how to carry, conceal and use guns, which is legal for educators in Utah, but not everyone agrees they should.

"Teachers need to keep in mind that their primary responsibility is to educate students and keep them safe to the best of their ability," Matt Ogle, Executive Director of Ogden/Weber Uniserv, told 4 Utah. "My concern is two fold, one is for the student's safety and the other is for teacher's safety."

Sheriff Thompson countered, "Our intent is to the best of our ability to help them build the skills, the understanding, the knowledge, the training necessary to protect those kids... Frankly, I feel like we're making Weber County Schools the safest schools in Utah."

The idea of teachers being armed began with the NRA, which advised educators to carry guns and schools to hire armed guards after the Sandy Hook School shooting.

However, there were armed guards on campus during the Columbine massacre and when the mass shooting at Virginia Tech occurred, noted Mother Jones.

The Salt Lake City Tribune reported earlier this year that a 2013 poll showed that 59 percent of Utah residents support teachers carrying guns.

Sources: 4 Utah, Mother Jones, The Salt Lake City Tribune

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