APIndiana News

GOP push for teacher gun training passes Indiana House

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Republicans approved a bill Tuesday that would begin a state-funded handgun training program for teachers that critics argue would wrongly encourage more guns in classrooms across the state.

The Republican-backed bill passed in a 71-24 vote predominantly on party lines, with supporters saying the training would give teachers opportunities to defend themselves and students if needed. State law currently allows school districts to permit teachers to be armed, but no training is mandated.

“Sadly, it’s something that’s necessary for the tragic world we live in today,” said bill sponsor Republican Rep. Jim Lucas, of Seymour.

The House education committee passed the bill 9-4 on party lines earlier this month. In that hearing, Lucas stressed the training program would be voluntary and paid for by the state, with about 40 hours of instruction for teachers.

Democratic Rep. Tonya Pfaff, a math teacher from Terre Haute, objected that the proposal would lead to “more guns in school,” citing the risks associated with having guns in the classroom and worries that students could access the weapon or take it from a teacher.

“We want to teach, nurture and inspire students,” Pfaff said during Tuesday’s debate. “We don’t want to carry guns on our hips and normalize guns in schools.”

Efforts by Indiana lawmakers to offer additional training failed in recent years amid opposition from both gun-rights advocates, who said the training mandates overstepped local control, and gun-control proponents, who argued such steps were aimed at arming teachers.

A handful of Indiana school districts currently allow some teachers to carry guns. School safety gained attention around Indiana following shootings in 2018 at a Noblesville middle school, in which a boy wounded a classmate and teacher, and at a Richmond middle school, where a boy shot out a door and fired at officers before killing himself.

Indiana lawmakers repealed a permit requirement for those carrying a gun in public at the previous legislative session. All residents age 18 or older — except those with a felony conviction, face a restraining order or have a dangerous mental illness — can carry a handgun in public.

That bill faced opposition from the Indiana police superintendent and several statewide law enforcement groups, who said eliminating the permit system would endanger officers by stripping them of a screening tool for quickly identifying dangerous people who shouldn’t have guns.

Lucas cited the shooting this past summer at a shopping mall in the Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, when a man opened fire in the mall’s food court, shooting five people, three fatally, before a bystander fatally shot the shooter.

“Guns are part of the American way of life,” Lucas said. “It’s enshrined in our Constitution. It’s enshrined in our Bill of Rights.”

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2 comments

Slacker06 February 16, 2023 at 10:02 am

“We want to teach, nurture and inspire students,” Pfaff said during Tuesday’s debate. “We don’t want to carry guns on our hips and normalize guns in schools.” Guns are already normal in school and they are not in the hands of the good guys. Ms Pfaff is an ignoramus. I guess she does not understand history either. In the past guns were common in school. Kids brought their hunting guns to school, stored them in their unlocked wall lockers, then went hunting after school to help feed their families. Some students were members of the school shooting teams. Their guns were right there in school for all to see. Guns in schools was very common and everyone learned gun safety. Today hundreds of Hoosier students learn firearm safety and marksmanship on their school air rifle team. It should be thousands or tens of thousands if it were not for people like this teacher. She lives in a fantasy world. More guns, Less Crime is proven fact. With the current woke just-us system where criminals are let go with little or no punishment The People have to take up arms to protect themselves, their loved ones, or their property during ordinary daily activities. No teacher should be forced to live and work in as phony “GUN FREE ZONE where the criminals never obey that sign. The MSU Campus is a gun free zone yet 3 died and several were wounded by an insane person that should have been in jail rather than walking around armed. He likely was also illegally carrying a firearm, a law he ignored and had ignored before, and he broke the laws against murder and attempted murder. How would Tonya stop such a person in her school? Or would she just stand there and take the bullets or watch students die for no reason whatsoever? Generally killers are cowards. They will run when confronted or they are stopped by a guy like happened at the Greenwood Mall a few months ago, also a gun free zone. Guns do not have souls. They are inanimate tools. They need a human to animate them. They can be used for good or evil. More than 500,000 times each year, some estimate as much as 2,000,000 times, in this country a citizen used a gun to defend against a bad guy or gal with a gun bent on mayhem or worse. Every kid under the control of the Hoosier education system should have a required course on gun safety. Safe gun handling is just as important as all the safe sex talk going on. More important than the skeevy porn in the school library. A movie cast member would be alive today if gun safety had been followed by anti-gun stooge and bully Alec Baldwin and the others hired to make the set safe. Above all, stop listening to Dopey King Joe, the Chicom Agent and Idiot of Brandonville about gun safety or the ability of guns to cut people in half or turn them inside out. The legislature is on the right track with this bill.

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Melissa Bash February 17, 2023 at 5:24 am

Amen!! Your comment is “Spot On”!!! I was taught gun safety in 8th grade by the Jay school corporation, that was back in the early 80’s!! and yes, Ms. Pfaff is a total moron! the more teachers armed, the better! I know Jay co. high school had police officers for awhile guard the school every day, but I’m not sure if they’re still doing it or not. Most Indiana residents should be able to open carry or conceal carry at all times! Heck I live in a rural area with my 81 yr old mother, I’m 52 myself and am also a female. I decided to get a Ring security camera for our home seeing as there we’re “bus fulls” of illegal aliens dumped off in my small town! We don’t have firearms in our home since my dad died almost 10 yrs ago, so I had to suffice with a ring security camera. We can’t afford to purchase a pistol. But yes, I’m glad the Indiana Republicans are doing this with the school teachers! I have several small grandchildren and I would be “devastated” if any of them were killed in a school shooting incident all because the teachers weren’t armed to protect the kids!!

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