For more than decade, the Utah Shooting Sports Council has offered free weapons training to teachers. The first class of the new year brought ten times the normal enrollment, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The class covers the fundamentals of applying for a concealed weapons permit, carrying a weapon, and using it to respond to an emergency. And the training doesn't just focus on how to respond with a gun. Teachers are also taught techniques such as "gouging an attacker's eyes, choking an attacker and how to hide," according to the Tribune.
Utah teachers are far from the only ones expressing increased interest in concealed weapons. There has also been a jump in inquiries at gun training clinics in Florida, according to the Palm Beach Post, even though the state bans nearly all weapons at public schools.
"It's frightening to be a member of a profession that's just been attacked," Palm Beach County School Board member Jenny Prior Brown told the newspaper. "It is a terrible feeling to feel helpless. Is it surprising they would go and get firearms even if they can't bring them on school property? No."
Districts in a number of states, including Florida and North Carolina, have opted in the short-term for adding more campus resource officers. (Their level of training and the weapons they're allowed to carry vary widely from state to state.)
At the federal level, President Obama has signed nearly two dozen executive orders related to gun control. His decisions were influenced by input from a committee created post-Sandy Hook and headed by Vice President Joe Biden. (U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is one of the appointed members.) The president has also proposed $150 million in funding to address campus climate and safety issues, including adding more school counselors, and more extensive training to help staff recognize and address students' mental health issues. However, as Education Week's Politics K-12 blog sagely notes, some of those dollars would be restoring school climate and safety programs and positions previously cut by the administration.
Nationally, there's been a spate of new bills proposed at the state level -- including in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia -- to either allow educators to carry weapons or to add armed guards to public schools. (In New Jersey, those newly added guards are already on duty.) It's worth pointing out that about a third of states already allow school personnel to carry concealed weapons on campus. The Harrold Independent School District in Texas has been arming its school staff since 2007.
In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said she wouldn't support allowing principals to carry weapons, as proposed by the state's superintendent of public instruction. A bill to arm teachers in the Evergreen State faces an uphill battle as Democrats have the supermajority, Colorado Public Radio reports. But in Tennessee, where the Republicans control both houses of the state legislature, talk of arming teachers is more likely to gain momentum.