An Oregon board of education voted to lift a ban on teachers carrying concealed firearms at schools in the St. Helens School District.
Now teachers who have a concealed weapons permit can carry a gun on campus.
"The current law in Oregon allows for anybody to concealed carry on school grounds," School Board chairman Marshall Porter told ABCNews.com. "To exclude our staff seems like they're being punished. They should have a right to protect themselves if they so choose."
The board voted 4-1 to lift the ban Wednesday.
Porter said he voted in favor of repealing the gun ban because he wants teachers to protect children in the event of a mass shooting.
"If [staff] were faced with a horrific choice, if they had to defend themselves against a kid -- which has been the thing -- I think it would be a hard decision for them, one that they would educate themselves on," he said. "I do believe we're talking about educators, people who have the interest of the children in mind."
He didn’t say whether he thought schools are safer with armed staff.
"I don't believe we're safe or less safe," he said. "We had a school without this policy. We were perfectly safe."
“I would say that the risk is more likely that somebody who isn’t following the law is a higher risk to your child coming on to school property than the one that is going to do it legally,” he told KATU-TV.
Guns at school will create an issue, he said, “But I think our teachers are responsible, our community is pretty knowledgeable about guns.”
Porter said he only heard from one parent who was unhappy with the vote.
"I've had more parents email me saying that they approve of our decision than not," he said.
"I have my kids in there. If there was a chance that something was to happen, and there's a chance that a teacher might be able to protect them, I'm fine with that," another school board member, Kellie Smith, told KATU-TV.