The Utah Shooting Sports Council is offering free classes to school employees who want to carry concealed weapons on the job.
The class goes over all of the basics of handling a firearm, including how to handle a firearm, load and unload a weapon, and how to fire a gun at live ranges.
Melanie Spencer, a special education teacher at Valley High School in Orderville, Utah answered the call. "I want to go I guess to be prepared in case we have any crisis in our school,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of problems here, but it could happen here."
Not everyone is thrilled about the free classes. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers have both argued that guns have no place in schools. They have their wish, for the most part. Currently, Utah and Kansas are the only two states that allow educators to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.
Stan Holmes of Utah Parents Against Gun echoed the educational foundations, stating that guns in schools “would be a policeman’s worst nightmare.”
Clark Aposhian, a local Utah council chairman and a tactical firearms instructor, disagreed. "We’re not arming teachers, we’re educating teachers," he said. School teachers are responsible for purchasing their own weapons for concealed carry in schools and they are encouraged to bring their own weapons to the training classes.
Showing educators how to properly carry a gun around students has drawn national and international attention. "We’ve had requests from international media. I’ve never used Skype so much for interviews,” Aposhian said. He explained that the two-day training session has drawn interview requests from Ireland, Australia, Japan, Russia, Venezuela, Canada and the United Kingdom.
He added, “The international media thinks it strange that teachers can carry handguns. They may think it’s the Wild West. But when they actually look at the videos and the pictures of primarily women, it pretty much erases that stereotype. These are not flag-waving, Second Amendment-reciting activists. These are teachers, first and foremost, who want the ability — that extra option — to protect themselves."